Michael Kenneth Dawson, Sr.
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 eleven 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.
Family and friends will be received at the Scarpelli Funeral Home, P.A., 108 Virginia Ave., Cumberland, on Friday, Aug. 16, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Wake services will be held at the funeral home on Friday evening at 8 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 125 Fayette St., Cumberland, on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at 10 a.m.
Interment will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Midland.
Condolences for the family may be left at www.ScarpelliFH.com
Published on August 14, 2019


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2 posts

Chuck Eisenhauer
Aug 27, 2019
Mike was a great friend and coworker. I haven't seen him for 20 years, but will miss him greatly.
Melissa B Jacobson
Aug 16, 2019
Beth, Michael, and Molly--
Words can't express how sorry I am at Mike's passing. After reading that wonderful obituary, I didn't realize how much Mike accomplished in his wonderful life. I will be contributing to MPT in Mike's name. He always had a genuine smile the few times I met him, and what a handsome and kind man he was! I look forward to hearing more about his life and adventures with his family ❤️. Please let me know if I can help in any way. I'm sending all my love...