Celebrating the life of Dr. Michael H.O. Dawson
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Born in Kilwinning, Scotland, on March 17, 1945, he was the son of the late Wilfred and Phyllis (Osborne) Dawson.
Michael was an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in spines and had a private practice in Pottsville for 39 years, retiring in March 2012. He completed all his education in the UK – first at the London Hospital in Whitechapel before moving on to complete his spinal training at the Robert and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry.
He was well known in central Pennsylvania and highly regarded for his work as well as his teaching of other surgeons both during his time in the US and previously in a number of locations in the UK.
His devotion to honouring the Hippocratic oath was as much a part of his being as was his bluntness with arguments he disregarded and his brow-furrowed love of, and appreciation of, music.
Michael particularly enjoyed classical music – attending many concerts at the Proms and in Philadelphia. The works of the avante garde composer Olivier Messiaen were particularly close to his heart – though not so endearing to many others that had to listen to them.
He also loved playing piano and golf with a wide circle of friends on courses across the state. He and his wife loved food, travelling and entertaining.
He was celebrated by friends as a fantastic character and was renowned for his sense of humour. Many will fondly recall a risqué joke, story or limerick he told at a party.
Michael enjoyed classic cars and – in his younger days – motorcycles. He was a keen percussionist, playing in several ensembles, and was a longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan – holding season tickets since the ‘80s. He built model railways and made model airplanes with great skill. And he most definitely enjoyed his beer, the English way, which means being at room temperature.
‘A foaming pint’ was something that many occasions called for from an early age – starting with school friends finding louche entertainment in pubs in London’s East End while driving his father’s Lanchester and later on with the Dionysian’s, leading to one memorable occasion that involved an out-of-hours trip to a zoo snakepit.
Throughout his life Mike was straightforward in his left wing views and a complete enthusiast for the work he did and for the good it brought to those whom he treated. He was a most generous, interesting and unusual person and those who called him a friend considered it to be a privilege to have known him.
Michael is survived by his wife, Pauline P. (Pereira), to whom he was married for 39 years and who cared for him throughout his long illness; and three sons; Charlie Dawson, husband of Nicola, of London, England; Oliver Dawson, of Dorking, England; their mother Dimity; Frederick Dawson, husband of Karen, of Dublin, Ireland; sister, Maxine Mathews, and husband Roger, of Surrey, England; 5 grandchildren, Gina, Josh, Millie, Xavier, and Emilia; nephew, Toby, and niece, Candy as well as their children; and circles of friends in the USA, UK and Malaysia.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date in Britain when restrictions have lessened. It is hoped there will be foaming pints wherever he goes and perhaps a chance to play seven card stud poker once more with his friends from medical school.
The family requests contributions in Michael's memory be sent to: Pottsville Free Public Library 215 W. Market St. Pottsville, PA 17901, Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030, and Democracy Now.
Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at Lord-Bixler Funeral Home | Pottsville, PA.
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