John Dawson, 85

Nov 25, 2019
John Dawson, 85, a longtime resident of Boxford, currently of Mattapoisett, died on Nov. 21. He was the devoted husband of Elizabeth A. (Jaillet) Dawson for 56 years. Born in Brooklyn, Neq York and raised in Brooklyn, New Bedford and Fairhaven, he was the son of the late James J. and Mary Margaret (Gatheral) Dawson. John graduated from Holy Family High School in New Bedford and earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Northeastern University in 1958. He went on to serve three years with the Army and remained a reservist until 1964. John returned to Northeastern University and earned a Master of Science in structural engineering in 1963.

John and Elizabeth were married in July of 1963 and made their home in Manchester, Connecticut where John worked for Pratt and Whitney. They relocated to Saugus and eventually settled in Boxford where John designed and built their home and worked for General Electric in Lynn as a mechanical engineer in the jet engine division. While raising six children, he volunteered countless hours for the Boxford Athletic Association, coaching soccer and baseball and organizing road races, as well as volunteering for St. Rose of Lima church in Topsfield. John worked for General Electric for 38 years where he authored numerous patents for jet engine parts and was active in the Elfun Society. He retired in 1996, devoting his energy to his family, projects, love of music, and traveling with Elizabeth. John is known for always putting others first, quietly working to make others’ lives easier without needing recognition. John was dedicated to his wife, children, and grandchildren and considered this his legacy.

Survivors include his wife, his six children, Anne O'Leary and her husband Kenneth of Medfield, Sheila Geiger and her husband Robert of Reading, John Dawson and his wife Michele of Beverly, Maureen DiNapoli and her husband Richard of Harvard, Michael Dawson and his wife Jennifer of Sherwood, Oregon and Kevin Dawson and his wife Laura of East Greenwich, Rhode Island

He is also survived by two brothers, James Dawson and Kevin Dawson and his wife Sandra, all of Mattapoisett, two sisters, Kathleen Brett and her husband James of Needham and Janet Liljedahl and her husband Robert of Mattapoisett; his brother-in-law, Joseph Cosgrove of Newton; 14 grandchildren, Daniel, Caleigh and Stephen O'Leary, Jessica, Molly and Jack Geiger, Henry, Peter and Curtis DiNapoli, Andrew and Brian Dawson, Micah, Maeve and Eliza Dawson; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his sister, Mary Dawson Cosgrove and his sister-in-law Elizabeth "Beth" Dawson.

Visiting hours will be on Friday Nov. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals in Mattapoisett. His funeral will be held on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony's Church. Burial will follow in St. Anthony's Cemetery. For directions and guestbook, please visit

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Sophia Gordon Cancer Center at Lahey Hospital, and Nativity Preparatory School of New Bedford.