Michael Kenneth Dawson, Sr.

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CUMBERLAND - Michael Kenneth Dawson Sr., 60, passed away Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, surrounded by family at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore after bravely battling nonalcoholic liver disease for over a year.
Mike is the son of the late Eugene Joseph Dawson and the late Margaret Ann (McGowan) Dawson.
Mike is survived by his wife of 25 years, Mary Beth (Heavner) Dawson; his son, Michael Dawson Jr.; his daughter, Molly Ann Dawson; his sisters, Mamie Rudd, Michigan and Jeannie Seifarth, Cumberland; and his brother, Tom Dawson and wife, Bette, Lonaconing. Mike is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Maggie Wilkins and husband, Shawn, Michigan, Patti Rudd, California, Julia Koumbassa and husband, Alya, Michigan, Matthew Dawson, Colorado, Erin Wilhelm and husband, Dwight, Avilton, Brett Seifarth and wife, Breana, Kensington, Eric Seifarth and wife, Lisa, Cumberland, and Alison Seifarth, Pasadena. Mike is also survived by his great nieces and nephews, Lily, Chloe, Adams, Seydouba, Madou, Binty Jack, Dawson, Will, Delilah, and Carson.
Mike was born in Midland and grew up in Frostburg. He attended St. Joseph's and St. Michael's elementary schools. Mike graduated from Bishop Walsh High School in 1977. Following high school, he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1981 with his Bachelor's Degree in Communications. He received his Masters of Business Administration from Frostburg State University in 2010.
Mike was employed at numerous radio stations during his lifetime. He started at WMUC, the University of Maryland radio station, and then had an internship and job at WHFS radio in Washington, D.C.. From there, Mike became the music director at radio station WMAL in Washington, D.C. Here, Mike worked with radio personality Ed Walker who nicknamed Mike "The Frostburg Flash," as well as Felix Grant, who hosted a nightly jazz program called "Album Sound." Mike also worked with Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver as a producer for their morning radio show, "Harden and Weaver." Mike then landed his "dream job" of working at the Voice of America, Europe division, in 1983 as an engineer, producer, and writer. Mike met and worked with many people during his 11 years at Voice of America, including president Jimmy Carter and the Dalai Lama. Mike was proud to have worked with Johnny Holliday at University of Maryland basketball games, as well as with Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff as the sound engineer for the Washington Redskins.
In 1994, Mike left the Voice of America, moved back home to Cumberland, married, and pursued his career working as a columnist at the Herald Mail in Hagerstown. Later, Mike worked from home for Doctors' Health Corporation, as well as working as a writer at the Cumberland Times News, and was also the Sunday morning host at WCBC radio station. Mike compiled several days of WCBC's audio coverage of the Cumberland flood of 1996, and created a recording entitled, "The Flood of the Century." Mike also worked for the Democratic National Campaign Committee for many election cycles. This was one of his favorite jobs in Washington, D.C. Mike's final career position was with the Western Maryland Health System as a Community Relations Specialist which he did for the past 20 years. There, he was president of the Employee Caring Fund for 10 years and helped many friends and families in need. During his career, Mike earned a Peabody Award for his writing and audio work for the Golden Age of Flight exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. This NASA exhibit was on display at the National Air and Space Museum for over 10 years.
For many years, Mike presented a Christmas show at the Kennedy Center with Ed Walker. Locally, he often portrayed Santa Clause for community organizations and has been the emcee for the Iron Furnace Race in Lonaconing, for the last 35 years. He was a member of Saints Peter and Pauls Our Lady of the Mountains Parish.
Mike had a lifelong love of sports, music, and politics. He collected vinyl albums and antique radios. He loved all music, and could tell you the song title, singer or band, the name of the album it was on, who wrote it and when it was written. Mike and a small group of music-loving friends attended many concerts including John Pryne, Neil Young, U2, and 9 Bruce Springsteen concerts. Mike taught everyone around him to love music, too.
Mike loved playing and watching sports, but especially baseball. He was an avid Orioles and Redskins fan. Growing up, Mike played football at St. Michael's and Bishop Walsh, and was on the team when Bishop Walsh won the state playoffs. Mike also played baseball and was proud to be chosen for Frostburg's All Star Team in the 8th grade, and make a game winning catch. As an adult, Mike was always a member of the softball team for the company where he was working.
Mike was an incredible person who was unfailingly kind, intelligent, witty, and generous. He was a wonderful father, husband, brother, uncle, and son, and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Mike's family would like to acknowledge the kind, compassionate care he was given throughout his illness. His family is especially grateful to the nursing staff at the Western Maryland Health System and the University of Maryland Medical Center's Medical ICU in Baltimore.
Mike's family requests that instead of flowers, please make a donation to the Public Broadcasting System or Maryland Public Television.
To plant a tree in memory of Michael Kenneth Dawson, Sr., please visit Tribute Store.
Published on August 13, 2019
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15 posts

Florence Saku
Aug 19, 2019
Michael and I first met in the MBA program at Frostburg State University. Mike and another gentleman and I also worked on a project together. Michael was such a fine and understanding gentleman to work with. It was during our time of working together that Mike told me he worked for Voice of America. At that time, VoA was a big thing in English-speaking West African countries. It was so cool to have met someone who was broadcasting to us when I was young in Ghana, because we used to listen to VoA a great deal.
Then I got to know Michael's aunt was the late Gerry, who was so wonderfully sweet to me when my children were little. On some occasions, Micheal would join his late Mom and Gerry at
...St. Michael, the church I attended.
Then one day in 2015, I ran into Michael in Frostburg and I told him about a new completer program I was teaching and how I needed field trip destinations and guest speakers. Instantly, Michael was so gracious to help me and gave me a great deal of information as well as contacts at the Western Maryland Health System where he worked. I met him the following year and this time, he gave me names of professionals and later emailed me addresses and phone numbers. He also agreed to be a member of my biomedical science program advisory committee and a judge for my seniors' mock interviews.
Michael, you will be dearly missed! May your gentle soul rest in peace! Beth, Michael and Molly, may you have solace in the Virgin Mary!
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Billy Vogel
Aug 17, 2019
Mike and his family were my neighbor for many years and we grew to be part of their family. My mother's greatest confidante was Ms Margaret. Mike was truly an example of his up bringing. He was polite, courteous and he always had that big , contagious smile. I don't think that he ever raised his voice. One thing I know for sure, Mike is home in heaven with his loving Mom and super Dad. I hope that someday, we will be neighbor's with the Dawson family and the Lord. RIP my Friend. WEV.
Bea Lamm
Aug 16, 2019
Mary Beth, I was shocked to see the picture in the paper of Mike. What a heart-wrenching year you must have had. I remember when you just started going out with Mike, then you got engaged. The little girl's in your classes from SJN wanted to have a shower for you and Mike. So we had this at Pennywhistle's upstairs. I know the kids so enjoyed this celebration. Mike was so kind that day when he came in to see the kids.
Then you got married. What a gorgeous wedding. Then I remember when Michael was born. I told Neth that he was the most handsome baby boy that I had ever seen. Also, you helped put family so much when Beth started at SJN. The 2nd day she came home and told us she found a frie
...nd whose name also was Beth and she could walk around the playground with you. Then you had Beth in 2nd grade. It was her most happiest years. She learned so much as well as you tutored her. Sometimes she said Mike woukd come home and play music. Beth lived your apartment on Smallwood Street. We have known you through your life and could see how happy you were with Mike. I feel so bad for you, Michael and Molly. But because of who you are there is strength in your family.
I have been out of contact this past year and due to a situation, I will not be able to get down. Please know you can stop by here any day or time. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending much love, Bea Lamm, 301 268 3446.
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Jill DiNola
Aug 15, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. I was stunned to learn this today. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you. May God’s love surround you and give you comfort as you grieve the loss of such an outstanding husband, father, friend. What a smart and accomplished man, too. Love to each of you, The DiNola Family
Bea Lamm
Aug 15, 2019
Mart Beth, I was shocked to see the picture in the paper of Mike. What a heart-wrenching year you must have had. I remember when you just started going out with Mike, then you got engaged. The little girl's in your classes from SJN wanted to have a shower for you and Mike. So we had this at Pennywhistle's upstairs. I know the kids so enjoyed this celebration. Mike was so kind that day when he came in to see the kids.
Then you got married. What a gorgeous wedding. Then I remember when Michael was born. I told Neth that he was the most handsome baby boy that I had ever seen. Also, you helped put family so much when Beth started at SJN. The 2nd day she came home and told us she found a frie
...nd whose name also was Beth and she could walk around the playground with you. Then you had Beth in 2nd grade. It was her most happiest years. She learned so much as well as you tutored her. Sometimes she said Mike woukd come home and play music. Beth lived your apartment on Smallwood Street. We have known you through your life and could see how happy you were with Mike. I feel so bad for you, Michael and Molly. But because of who you are there is strength in your family.
I have been out of contact this past year and due to a situation, I will not be able to get down. Please know you can stop by here any day or time. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending much love, Bea Lamm, 301 268 3446.
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Linda Shaffer Kelly
Aug 14, 2019
May God be with you Beth, your children and all of Mike's family at this most difficult of times. My heartfelt prayers go out to you all. May God grant you peace and may you find comfort in the loving memories you hold dear in your heart.
Lorna Snyder
Aug 14, 2019
Sending prayers to the Family and friends for your great loss what a wonderful get
Amy Robinette
Aug 14, 2019
Beth, Michael and Mollie- our hearts are heavy for the 3 of you. We send our deepest condolences. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. John, Amy and Taber
Kay Hartman Barone
Aug 14, 2019
I am so sorry for the loss of Mike. Our families lost touch for a while, but if he was anything like Uncle Eugene, he was a very wonderful, special man. You are all in my prayers. Love to all my cousins at this difficult time ❤
Libby Llewelyn
Aug 14, 2019
To my Midland Family. I want to give my sincere sympathy to you all. My prayer is that our Lord Jesus will Wray his arms around you and give you comfort. Mike was a great person. I was very impressed when I read his obituary, he was a very active man. And I know he really loves his children and family. Love you all. Libby
Georgia Schuff
Aug 14, 2019
Mamie, my sincere sympathy to you and your family. I hope all those great memories sustain you.
Laura Rollins
Aug 14, 2019
Mary Beth and Jeannie and all your family,
Tim and I are so sorry to hear about Mike's passing. He had so many accomplishments and touched so many people. He will be missed by so many.
Krista Davisson
Aug 14, 2019
Sweet Solace Spray was purchased for the family of Michael Kenneth Dawson, Sr. by Krista Davisson.  Send flowers
Cheryl Musgrove
Aug 13, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Mike will be missed by all.
Donnie Lippold
Aug 13, 2019
Sorry to hear about Mike. I only knew him a short time, but in that time, I knew he was a good man He will be missed.