Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Obituary - Billy Ray Dawson

Billy "Bill" Ray Dawson, 89, Harrisonville, MO, passed away Sunday, May 15, 2022 at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, MO. Memorial services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Atkinson Funeral Home in Harrisonville. Inurnment at the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Harrisonville.

Bill was born September 11, 1932 at his parent's home near Roscoe, MO, a son of Espie Thomas and Lillian Gertrude (Smith) Dawson, the second born of seven brothers and sisters; Betty, Mary, Tom, Dolores, Burnis, and Carol. The Dawson family moved to Peculiar, MO when Bill was 11 years old and he was a graduate of Peculiar High School. He never had children of his own but all of his nieces and nephews were like his own kids. He loved them all.

Bill joined the Army on January 8, 1953 and served until April, 1955. He then became an active army reservist until his honorable discharge on January 14, 1961. During this time, Bill trained in chemical, biological and radiological warfare. He was married to Helen Lorine Lemon for four years, from May 26, 1962 until 1966. He worked for Bendix in Kansas City for a few years. Bill met Kenny Sharpton, and together they loved animals and raised various breeds of cats, show dogs chickens, and exotic birds through the years. He and his partner Kenny, lived in Ontario, California and showed many of their dogs and received top honors. They sold some of their dogs to famous Hollywood people for thousands of dollars. In 1975 they won top honors at the American Poultry Association Convention, for Champion Foul of a Black Sumatra Rooster.

While living in California, Bill worked at the Guaranteed Foods, Inc. warehouse, and received Employee of the Year in 1974. Bill and Kenny moved back to Missouri in the mid-1990's. They were together for over 40 years, and after Kenny passed away, Bill moved to Harrisonville to be closer to his family.

Bill had a massive stroke on March 18, 2014 and began therapy and stayed several weeks at Research Medical Center in Kansas City. He later was able to move home and live in his own apartment. After several months he decided to move to Golden Years in Harrisonville. He made many friends with the workers and was happy living there and with the all the care he was given. He never complained about anything and all our visits were always filled with talking about family and updating him on everything. He would say, with tears in his eyes, "I just don't understand this generation". He would always have his TV on Fox News and when Jeopardy came on at 3:00 p.m., he didn't like being disturbed.

He will be missed by many that truly loved him. Our fondest memories are from the last few years when we would bring him to the house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He enjoyed sitting and watching the little kids play, always with a smile on his face. Sadly, when Covid hit, he was not able to join us for the holidays. He knew it was best for him to stay right where he was.

Always after visiting him, he would say, "Don't forget me. Come and see me".

Bill was preceded in death by his father, Espie, in 1985, a brother, Tom Dawson in 1989, his mother, Lillian in 1994, his brothers and sisters, Mary Zumwalt in 2015, Carol Jakubczak in 2016, Betty Hughes in 2018, Burins Dawson in 2019, and one nephew, Kevin Dawson in 2018. He is survived by a sister, Dolores Bassett, Lee's Summit, MO; six nieces, Regina, Phyllis, Tammy, Pam, Lynne, and Tanya; four nephews, Vincent, Espie, Steve, and Tom. He was a great, great-great, and great-great-great-uncle of too many to mention.

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