Dawson Larry Smith, 74, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2023, at the Hospice of Cincinnati, with his beloved wife, Tamara, by his side. Dawson was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 15, 1949, to Esther (Larson) and Dawson Hall Smith. Although he left Texas for Colorado and Ohio, Texas never left his heart, and he remained “a proud Texan.”
Dawson’s interest in learning was apparent at an early age when, during the summer after third grade, his parents purchased the World Book Encyclopedia and he read the entire set from A-Z. Although Dawson is most known for his hardworking and serious nature, he had a mischievous side where he employed his intellect primarily in creative avoidance of detection. His funniest stories involved pranks he played when he was a teenager including, for example, devising homemade explosive devices by hiding firecrackers in peaches or sneaking cow patties into paper bags and setting them on fire to create literal “stink bombs.” Dawson convulsed with laughter himself, each time he regaled his audience with tales of these escapades.
Dawson graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington with a BS in Industrial Engineering (IE), received his Master’s in IE from Arizona State University, and earned an MBA from the University of Denver. Dawson continued to pursue learning wherever he was. For example, he loved history museums and was famous for reading every description in its entirety, both impressing and exasperating those who were with him.
Dawson met his wife, Tamara, the love of his life, through the Rocky Mountain Road Runners Club when they both lived in Denver. They shared a passion for marathon running throughout their 36-year marriage and, when not competing himself, Dawson was always there to cheer Tamara on. Fitness remained important to him and, even after his diagnosis, Dawson accompanied Tamara on regular walks around their neighborhood as long as his strength allowed. Dawson was acutely aware of the irony that taking good care of his health didn’t prevent his being felled by acute metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Dawson’s meticulous, methodical nature and intellectual curiosity enabled him to achieve success in marketing and sales for a high-tech medical company where he worked for 40 years until his retirement in 2016.
Following his retirement, Dawson lived his life guided by what he called his “Five Fs”: faith, family, friends, fitness, and financial stewardship. Perhaps because both of his parents passed away, by the time he was twenty years old, Dawson was committed to forming and maintaining relationships in every aspect of his life. Dawson enthusiastically participated whenever there was an opportunity to gather with Tamara’s many relatives and always felt himself to be a member of the family.
A devoted father, Dawson encouraged his sons to pursue their passions and try their best. Even though his work necessitated frequent travel, he made every effort to attend their sports and other important events. He was eager to dispense his wisdom and trusted that this would communicate his powerful love for them and investment in their becoming the best men they could be.
In retirement, Dawson nurtured his faith with regular church attendance, a weekly men’s Bible study, and serving on his church’s “First Impression” team on the parking crew. He also developed an interest in gardening and landscaping, continually expanding his beautiful flower gardens. A passionate and patriotic conservative, Dawson became an avid participant in his local Republican party, serving as one of four Ward Chairmen, overseeing the work of eight precincts. This fall, the Hamilton County Republican Party recognized him with an award which, going forward, will carry his name – the Dawson Smith Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Dawson is survived by his wife Tamara, sons Tyler (Kaycee) (Orangevale, California) and Zach (Mary) (Puyallup, Washington), his younger brother Randy (Grand Prairie, Texas), and his beloved in-laws, including mother-in-law Mary Louise Behrhorst (Wallace) (Austin, Texas), and sisters-in-law, Marya McCrae (Wichita, Kansas), Stephanie Luessenhop (Providence, Rhode Island), and Valerie Luessenhop (Austin, Texas), as well as nephews, nieces, and numerous extended family members.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, at the Fares J. Radel Funeral Home, (5950 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45230) at 2:00 PM. Visitation with members of Dawson’s family will be held prior to the service from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Dawson’s name to:
Jeremiah Student Scholarship fund at City Gospel Mission (organized and supported by Dawson’s Men’s Bible study group) https://www.citygospelmission.org/about-us/our-services/jeremiah-scholars/
The Hospice of Cincinnati: https://hospiceofcincinnati.org/donate/