Dr. James Wilkinson Dawes
After 83 years of a remarkable and full life on earth, Dr. James Wilkinson Dawes of Tomball; formerly of Orange, (and a citizen of the world) passed from this life to the next on Easter Sunday, March 31. All who knew and loved him will cherish the memories of his passion for life, his curiosity about the world, and his deep love for God and family.
Funeral Services will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, April 5, at Claybar Funeral Home Chapel in Orange. Officiating will be the Rev. Barry Bradley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orange, and Dr. Bill White. Special music will be performed by Ken Williams and Brenda Lee. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens near Bridge City.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Thursday, at the funeral home.
Jim Dawes was a multi-faceted human being. He was born in New Orleans, on Aug. 21, 1929 to Beatrice Wilkinson Dawes and Walter Eblen Dawes. From his doting mother, he inherited the ability to love deeply. From his world-traveling father, he obtained wanderlust. His early years in New Orleans left him with a lifelong love of good food. As a boy in New Orleans, he loved to ride the streetcar downtown to go to the movies and to play in the canals in his neighborhood in Algiers.
Following World War II, Jim’s father, Walter, moved his family to England while Walter worked in London for the U.S. government selling surplus lend/lease equipment from the war. The reminders of the war and its carnage were all around them, and the British people’s suffering from the devastation that surrounded them left an indelible mark upon young “Jimmy.”
As there were no American schools in London at the time, Jim was sent to the American Community School in Paris, where he received his high school diploma in 1947.
He returned to the United States to begin his college years, acquiring Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in chemistry from Louisiana State University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas. Early in his academic career his passion for Roman history led him to consider studying history, but he decided that the exciting developments in chemistry were too compelling to pass up.
Prior to attending UT, he put his knowledge of chemistry to good use in the United States Air Force where he served his nation proudly as a First Lieutenant during the Korean conflict. His role in the Air Force was not combat but science, as he worked as a project engineer developing a system of reclamation for photographic wash water.
He began his career as a research chemist at DuPont in 1958 and ended up at the Sabine River Works in 1963 where he met the love of his life, Barbara Stephens, and swept her off her feet with his red Corvette. This was an exciting time for him as he not only met the woman he would marry but also found the faith that would shape and guide the rest of his life. He was baptized at First Baptist Church in Orange and became a devoted member of that church.
When his daughter Jennifer was born in 1966, his red Corvette days were over, but the fun was just starting. Amy followed in 1968 and Walter in 1971, and the circle was complete.
Jim continued to enjoy traveling and loved taking his family all over world. Special highlights were two trips to the Holy Land with friends from First Baptist Church.
In 1984, DuPont transferred him to London to set up a lab at Hemel Hempstead to spearhead the Hypalon project for the European operations of the company. Those were the good times. When he wasn’t working to make the world a better place through chemistry, Jim was touring with his family all over England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and continental Europe.
Following a brief stint in Geneva, Switzerland working for the DuPont operations there, Jim and Barbara returned to the United States and to their home in Orange, where Jim worked a few more years before retirement. He worked a total of 35 years for DuPont.
Retirement brought him back to one of his original loves—Roman history. He lectured aboard cruise ships and taught a course at Lamar State College-Orange. In recent years, he had been known to share his copious knowledge with anyone who would listen. He loved learning and, because of his passion for knowledge, was a great teacher.
An exciting part of retirement for Jim was the opportunity to serve the Orange chapter of Golden K Kiwanis as a member and as President.
Jim and Barbara moved to Tomball in 2009 to be closer to family where they joined Champion Forest Baptist Church.
Jim is survived by his spouse of 48 years, Barbara Stephens Dawes; his daughter Jennifer Dawes Adkison and her husband, Steve Adkison, of La Grande, Or; his daughter Amy Dawes Klein and her husband, Craig Klein, of Tomball; his son Walter Dawes of Houston; five grandchildren: Bridger, Ally and Jake Adkison of La Grande, and Jackson and Jonathan Klein of Tomball; his sister-in-law Bette Honeycutt of Orange; and his sister-in-law Brenda Escamilla and her husband, Randy Escamilla, of Midlothian, Va.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Champion Forest Baptist Church; 15555 Stuebner Airline Road, Houston, Texas, 77069.