HONORING THE LIFE OF GRAIL DAWSON; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 207
(Extensions of Remarks - December 23, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1639-E1640]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. JARED HUFFMAN

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Monday, December 23, 2019

  Mr. HUFFMAN. Madam Speaker, I rise today in memory of Grail Dawson, 
who passed away on November 21, 2019, at the age of 99 after a lifetime 
devoted to serving his country and community.
  The youngest of four siblings, Mr. Dawson was born in Washington, 
D.C. in June 1920. He attended George Washington University and 
obtained a degree in Chemistry. Mr. Dawson volunteered for military 
service in the United States Navy shortly after the start of World War 
II. He completed officer training at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, 
and received a commission of Lieutenant, assigned to duty on landing 
ships in the South Pacific Theater. Mr. Dawson served in combat as a 
Landing Ship Officer at Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Iwo Jima, and the 
Philippines. In Bougainville, he served as Beachmaster for a landing 
under fire. Mr. Dawson received both the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign 
Medal with 5 Battle Stars and the Philippine Liberation Medal.
  Upon his return from active duty, Mr. Dawson served a 30-year career 
as a Federal government employee, working for the Bureau of Reclamation 
in Washington, D.C., Idaho, Montana, and Sacramento. While stationed in 
Boise, Idaho, he met his wife Laverne, who he was married to for 30 
years and with whom he had his two daughters. Following his wife's 
death in 1977, Mr. Dawson moved to Mendocino County to be closer to his 
daughters. It was there that he met Betty Barber, who was his life 
partner for the next 42 years until his death.
  In Mendocino, Grail immersed himself in civic activities, working as 
a reporter for the

[[Page E1640]]

Mendocino News service for seven years and serving eight years on the 
Board of Directors of the Mendocino City Community Services District. 
Mr. Dawson was an active member of the Mendocino Citizen's Advisory 
Committee and was the primary author of the first Mendocino Town Plan, 
working tirelessly to help preserve the small-town character and 
historical value of Mendocino.
  Mr. Dawson was an active volunteer in numerous community groups, 
including the Fort Bragg Food Bank, Fort Bragg Library and the Grey 
Panthers. His crowning achievement was the revitalization of the 
Mendocino Land Trust with his partner Betty Barber. Mr. Dawson served 
for nearly 20 years on the board of trustees and a cumulative six years 
as president of the board. His commitment and dedication to the 
organization took the Land Trust from a small kitchen table 
organization to a highly effective conservation organization that 
counted among its successes the restoration and conservation of more 
than 7,000 acres along the Big River estuary.
  Mr. Dawson was a dedicated public servant whose life exemplified the 
values of civic engagement and service. He is survived by his daughters 
Daney Dawson and Debra Dawson, his partner 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 this marriage, Sean Dawson and 
Shannon Dawson Westphal of Maryland, and three great grandchildren. 
While Mr. Dawson will be greatly missed, his legacy will live on 
through the positive impact he and his work had on the lives of his 
friends, family, and the Mendocino Coast.