Dr. James Byron Dawson

November 22, 1941 ~ May 15, 2011 (age 69)

Deputy Director James Byron Dawson, Ph. D., age 69, of White Plains, GA., died Sunday, May 15, 2011 at Athens Regional Medical Center. Born in Athens, Georgia on November 22, 1941, he was the son of the late James Linton Dawson and Reba Bowers Dawson. He grew up in the Winterville Community attending Winterville Elementary School and graduating from Athens High School in the class of 1960. He was a member of Liberty United Methodist Church and a volunteer fireman of the Liberty Fire Department.

Dr. J. Byron Dawson began his scientific career as a teaching assistant and under graduate research assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry. Dr. Dawson''s public safety career began in 1969 as the Assistant Director of the Georgia State Crime Laboratory, which at that time was part of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Dr. Dawson was also appointed as Special Agent, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety, on April 15, 1969. On October 1, 1988 he was appointed as the Deputy Director, Division of Forensic Sciences, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Dr. Dawson''s accomplishments during his tenure include recognition by the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Human Relations Commission, and by former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator, Zell Miller for his service to the State of Georgia and the United States. The City of Albany, Georgia recognized Deputy Director Dawson in 1994 for the Division of Forensic Sciences response in identifying more than 300 human remains and restoring Albany''s Oakview and Riverside Cemeteries which were decimated as a result of the July 1994 floods. In 1995 and 1996, Dr. Dawson was instrumental in the strategic emergency response planning for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, GA. On April 1, 1997, Dr. Dawson retired from public service.

Dr. Dawson is a graduate of the Emory University Medical Examiner''s Course and certified as a Forensic Scientist by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. In 1993 Dr. Dawson was certified by the American Board of Criminalistics. He has a Bachelor''s of Science Degree and Ph.D in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Dawson''s professional affiliations include the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Society, London, England, the Society of Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society), the Southern Association of Forensic Sciences, the National Association of Auto Theft Investigators, the California Association of Criminalistics, and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Deputy Director Dawson was a life member of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia. His publications include "Synthesis of a Perhydroazulene Derivative" and "Photochemical Rearrangements".

He is married to the former Deborah Hiter of Decatur, Georgia now of White Plains, GA. Other survivors include his three children, Lisa Eavenson of Savannah, GA, Melanie Anderson and husband Billy of Knoxville, TN and Charles Dawson and wife Susannah of McDonough, GA; two stepsons, Will Fowlkes of Jefferson, GA and Brent Fowlkes and wife Mandi of Tuscaloosa, AL; a sister, Beckie Hargrove and husband Scotty of Hiawassee, GA; and grandchildren, Tanner, Sawyer and McKenna Eavenson, Hannah and Olivia Dawson, Jordan and Dawson Anderson and Brady, Brock, Sydney and Brooks Fowlkes.

Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Liberty United Methodist Church, 3091 Liberty Church Road, White Plains, GA 30678 with Rev. Edward A. Swehla officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night at McCommons Funeral Home. Any memorials may be made to the Liberty United Methodist Church Building Fund, c/o Ann Smith, 2491 Shiloh Road, Greensboro, GA 30642 or Liberty Volunteer Fire Department, c/o Michael Strickland, 1111 Flat Rock Church Road, White Plains, GA 30678. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register.

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