Matthew Dawson Profile Photo
1949 Matthew 2024

Matthew Dawson

August 30, 1949 — May 13, 2024

Navarre

Matthew George Dawson, 74, died peacefully at his home in Navarre, FL, on Monday, May 13, 2024.

Matthew was born August 30, 1949, in Philipsburg, PA to Clarence Elmer Dawson and Amy Rosemary (Lee) Dawson. Matthew sadly lost his parents at a young age and spent his formative years at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA, which at the time was a K-12 boarding school for male orphans. After graduation, Matthew attended The Pennsylvania State University from 1967-1969 where he met his first wife, Gretchen, and mother of his first three children (Matthew, Kenny, and Sarah). 


In 1969, Matthew was drafted into the US Army during Vietnam. Although he was obligated to leave his college education behind, he maintained a life-long affinity to Penn State and the school’s athletic programs, especially wrestling. While in the Army, Matthew was stationed in Berlin, Germany, where he forged life-long friendships with several “Battle Buddies” who remained dear to him until the end.


Following his service in the Army, Matthew began a successful, 33-year career in the consumer finance industry with Capital Financial Services (later merged with Beneficial Management Corp of America and even later HSBC). He started as a Branch Representative in lending and worked his way up to be the District Manager for 13 offices in Kansas and Nebraska. Matthew loved what he did, and he was recognized regularly for his success. He was business-savvy and a leader who invested his knowledge and time to develop and mentor other future finance leaders.


Matthew spent 20 years in Overland Park, KS, where he met his second wife, Jane, and mother of his last two children (David and Natalie). He retired with a golden handshake in 2004 and moved to Navarre, FL where he lived the rest of his days.


In healthier times, Matthew would drive to the beach every morning to watch the sunrise. He also spent countless hours doing what he loved most, which was fishing. He would travel with his friends on different fishing adventures, and he often spoke of fishing the Arkansas River in Colorado, where he lived with his family for a short time during the early stages of his career. Matthew also enjoyed deep sea fishing and won a local contest for catching the largest pompano. In his final weeks, he dreamed of filleting fish, which was likely second nature to him because he did it so much throughout his life.


Matthew was an avid sports fan. If he wasn’t catching up on the news or watching Judge Judy, a game was on the TV. He rooted for KU, Penn State and his favorite NFL team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He enjoyed watching golf, wrestling and basketball as well. Matthew was a great cook, and his family often looked forward to different dishes that he made like pasta salad, fried catfish, and tomatoes and mac. He loved hosting holiday gatherings with his family, and he enjoyed telling stories about his earlier days. Matthew was very proud of all his children and their accomplishments, and he loved having his house full of grandchildren. 


In addition to his parents, Matthew was preceded in death by his brother Kenneth James Dawson; sister Deborah Ann Dawson; brother-in-law Cary Claude Parks (Linda); oldest son Matthew Lee Dawson; and youngest son David Lee Dawson.


Matthew is survived by his son, Kenneth Lee Dawson; daughter Sarah Jayne (Phillip) Kuemmel; daughter Natalie Faye (Matthew) Wright; and 9 grandchildren: Hayden (Matthew), Lizzie, Kyler, Kameron (Kenny), Bryce, Ariel, Eduard (Sarah), and Hollie and Christopher (Natalie); sisters Linda Lee (Dawson) Parks, Margaret Louise (Dawson) Stern and Barbara Jean (Dawson) Regina; and both of his previous wives, Gretchen Ann (Bruening) Dawson Johns, and Jane Dawson.


A graveside service with military honors will be held for close friends and family on Monday, June 3 at 9:30 AM at Rose Lawn Funeral Home and Cemetery in Gulf Breeze, FL, where Matthew will be interred with his son David.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Matthew Dawson, please visit our flower store.

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