IN MEMORY OF: James Robert “Buzzy” Dawson, Sr.

James "Buzzy" Dawson
BHS 1954

James Robert “Buzzy” Dawson, Sr. 

HENRICO, Va. — James Robert “Buzzy” Dawson, Sr. died peacefully Thursday, December 4, 2014, at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond with family by his side. He was born November 10, 1938, in Bramwell, W.Va., the youngest child of the late John Rages and Sadie Sarah Doss Dawson. He was a 1957 graduate of Bramwell High School.

Buzzy grew up in Bramwell and attended Bramwell schools, where he had fond memories of being the drum major in the high school band under the direction of David Richardson. He began a lifetime of service to his community at the age of 15 with the Bramwell Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Edward “Budgie” Niswander. Buzzy had the unique experience of driving John F. Kennedy in the fire truck into Bramwell during the 1960 presidential campaign. Bramwell Police Chief Gordon Short also served as a mentor by “deputizing” Buzzy to ride along with him on many occasions.

Buzzy joined the Army December 1, 1957. He was stationed with the 57th Artillery Battalion in Nahant, Mass. where he achieved an E-4 rank (corporal) and was awarded a good conduct medal.

Upon leaving the service in 1959, he worked in West Virginia, Kentucky and for Kaiser Steel in Eagle Mountain, Calif. He then worked for Komatsu and Mitchell Distributing Company in Richmond before his retirement in 2000. Following retirement, Buzzy became an active volunteer with the Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team and the Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad, where he was honored with Life Membership in 2010 after serving in various leadership positions with the squad.

A member of the Ancient and Free Accepted Masons since May 8, 1968, he was a member of the Blythe, Calif. Lodge #473 until 1976 when he became a member of Glen Allen, Va. Lodge #131 until his passing.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers Rages Lee “Jack” Dawson and Curtis Hampton “Buddy” Dawson; sisters-in-law Garnet Lee Phillips Dawson and Charlotte Clark Estep; brothers-in-law John J. “Jack” Mahood and Denver M. “D.M.” Stoker; parents-in-law Margaret Lantz Estep and Elza Wesley “Bud” Estep; and nephews, “Jackie” Dawson and Darwin “Chuck” Dawson.

Buzzy is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years Patricia (Estep), son James, Jr. “Robby” of Chester, Va., daughter Debra, of Bellingham, Wash., and grandchildren Caitlin and James, III “Jay”; sisters Betty (Ralph “Doc”) Haskew of Tampa, Fla., Louise Stoker of Bramwell, Norma Jean (Elmer) Mahood-Bay of Bluefield, Va., and brother William “Bill” of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; sisters-in-law, Julia “Judy” Dawson of Palatka, Fla., Linda (Donald Ray “Donnie”) Miles of Virginia Beach, and Barbara “Bobbie” (Douglas “Doug”) Belcher of Lynchburg, Va., and brother-in-law Ted Wesley Estep, Sr. of Lynchburg. Uncle Buzzy leaves nieces and nephews who treasure their memories of his laughter and humor, numerous grandnieces and nephews, as well as a new generation that includes four great-grandnieces and two great-grandnephews.

Local relatives include nieces Dana Cochran of Bramwell, Jonni Stoker (Tom Dunford) of Burke's Garden, and Ann Boyd of Bluefield, along with a special niece who was like the youngest sister of the family, Sarah “Bibbi” (Larry) Sigmon of Sandlick, and grandniece Amanda Cochran of Bramwell.

Published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.”

- Laurence Binyon