OBITUARY

Shirley Dawson

August 27, 1931March 10, 2019

Shirley Dawson, nee Schnell, of East Lansing, Michigan, passed away on March 10, 2019 at Hospice House of Mid-Michigan. She was born on August 27, 1931 in Toledo, Ohio and remained an Ohio girl at heart for her entire life. She married her University of Toledo sweetheart, James Dawson, in 1953 and had five (5) children. She was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority at the University of Toledo.

Shirley was an active member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and a member of its Altar Society. She was a sustaining member of the Mary Magdalen League at St. Lawrence Hospital where she was, for years, a volunteer and buyer for its gift shop. When her children were enrolled at Donley Elementary School, Shirley started a hot lunch program where children of working parents could enjoy a wonderful lunch every day at a time when the public schools did not provide lunch. The day her youngest child, John, started middle school, she began her retail career, first at Wicker World in Okemos and then as a sales consultant and eventually a buyer for J.W. Knapp’s department store at the Meridian Mall in Okemos. She loved to assist women in selecting the perfect outfit for job interviews, proms, showers and everyday life. Many Michigan State University students as well as Shirley’s daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters, sought her advice and benefited from Shirley’s keen eye for fashion.

Shirley was active in the autism community and the Greater Lansing Association for Retarded Children/Citizens, advocating for both her son, Thomas, and for the broader autism community. Thanks, in part, to her efforts, group homes for the developmentally disabled were established in Michigan, leading to the deinstitutionalization of her son and thousands of other individuals.

Shirley was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a true friend to many and offered a warm smile and kind word to everyone she met.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 65 years, James Dawson, daughter, Mary (Dan) Hunt of East Lansing, son, Thomas Dawson of Lansing, daughter, Julie (Derek) Williamson of Mount Laurel, NJ, and son, John (Jane Vetto) Dawson of Portland, OR; grandchildren, Ann (Patrick Hussey) Hunt, Jennifer Hunt, Kathryn Williamson, Matthew Williamson, Emma Williamson, Robert Dawson, and James Dawson; great-grandson, Rory Hussey and great-granddaughter, Emerson Hussey; and brother, Wendell S. (Jane Ellen) Schnell, Jr. of Oregon, Ohio. She is preceded in death by her daughter, Lucille Dawson.

Visitation will take place on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Gorsline Runciman East Chapel, 1730 East Grand River, East Lansing, and on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 955 Alton Road, East Lansing, MI 48823. A celebration of Shirley’s life and a Mass of the Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m. Interment will take place at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 2520 West Willow Street, Lansing, MI 48917.

Memorial contributions to Residential Options, Inc., 2400 Science Parkway, Okemos, MI 48864 are requested in lieu of flowers.

Services

12 April

Visitation

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

1730 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

12 April

Prayer Service

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

1730 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

13 April

Memorial Visitation

9:30 am - 10:30 am

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

955 Alton Road
East Lansing, Michigan

13 April

Memorial Mass

10:30 am

St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

955 Alton Road
East Lansing, Michigan

REMEMBERING

Shirley Dawson

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Thomas Schnell

March 15, 2019

I always admired Shirley and have wonderful memories of our cousins picnics. My thoughts go out to Jim, for I too lost my wife some twelve years ago but, she is still very much a part of my life. May god bless you all.
Cousin Tom from Columbus, OH.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY