In memory of
Grail Dawson, of Little River, passed away peacefully at Mendocino Coast District Hospital on Nov. 21, 2019, at the age of 99. Grail was born in June 1920, in Washington, D.C., the youngest of four siblings. He attended George Washington University, obtaining a degree in chemistry, received officer training at Annapolis Naval Academy, then served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he joined the Federal Civil Service and moved to Boise, Idaho, where he met his wife of 30 years, Laverne, with whom he had his two daughters. In the course of his work, they lived in D.C., Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma and finally Sacramento. He finished his career as personnel officer with the Bureau of Reclamation. After his wife died in 1977, he followed his daughters to Mendocino, where he met Betty Barber who was to be his partner until his death. Grail was very active in Mendocino County politics after moving to the coast. He was a reporter for the Mendocino News Service for seven years. He was appointed a member of the Mendocino Citizens' Advisory Committee and was the primary author of the first Mendocino Town Plan, ensuring that Mendocino would not be overdeveloped and commercialized. He and Betty revitalized the Mendocino Land Trust where he was involved for 30 years, 17 as a director, putting many tracts of land into conservation. He served on the board of directors of the Mendocino City Community Services District for eight years. He was involved with many other local environmental and political action groups and his list of volunteer activities is long, including the Fort Bragg Library, the Food Bank and the Grey Panthers. The Board of Supervisors honored him for his public service, and he will be remembered for his work preserving open space in and around Mendocino, and the small town character of the town, which he loved. He also loved to travel and visited Europe and Mexico many times, both with Betty and his daughters. Playing bridge, tennis and riding his bike were a few of his favorite activities, along with attending concerts of the Redwood Symphony and Mendocino Music Festival. His great spirit and good energy were known throughout the community and he will be missed by everyone who knew him. He had a long life and considered himself a happy and lucky man. He was actively engaged in life until the end. He is survived by daughters, Daney Dawson and Debra Dawson; his partner of 42 years, Betty Barber; her daughters, Terry and Lisa; and grandsons Allegro D'Albert, Dylan Nicolle and Micah Cooper. He had a son, David Dawson, deceased, by his first wife, and he leaves two grandchildren from that marriage, Sean Dawson and Shannon Dawson Westphal of Maryland, and three great-grandchildren. Above all, Grail was a family man; he was happiest when surrounded by family. He was a wonderful father, husband, grandfather and friend. The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and support staff of Mendocino Coast District Hospital for their kind and professional care leading up to the end of his life. Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Mendocino Land Trust.
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