Margaret Ann Dial Dawson, 88, of Pine Bluff, transitioned to Heaven Saturday, May 9, 2020 at Trinity Village Medical Center.
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She was born on January 14, 1932 in Faith, Arkansas, daughter of Cecil Iris and Henry Martin Dial, Jr. Her father owned and operated Dial and Son Grocery Store.
At age 10 she joined the Jefferson County 4-H Club. Because of her outstanding achievements in 4-H, including winning Arkansas secretary and Leadership Award, she was selected, along with representatives from 48 states, to be the representative for Arkansas. At age 18, she was the youngest representative to travel to the British Isles for the International Farm Youth Exchange. She was in Switzerland, Germany, France, Ireland, Wales, Britain, and Scotland for a total of 5 and a half months.
Margaret Ann was reared and received her early education in Watson Chapel, where her father was president of the school board. She was on the Wildcat basketball team, a Beta Club member, on the Wildcat Scratch staff, and on the Pep Squad. At age 15, as a Future Farmers of America member, Margaret Ann won the Arkansas State food preparation award and rode the Rock Island train to accept it at the 4-H Congress in Chicago. She graduated from high school in 1948.
She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1952. Margaret Ann was in the Delta Gamma Sorority, Phi Upsilon Omicron, an honorary home economics club and she belonged to the Colhecon Club. After graduation she worked as an associate extension agent in Newport and Monticello, Arkansas. Then she pursued her Master’s in Education at the University of Maryland, graduating in 1956. For two and a half years, she worked as an associate extension agent for the University of Nevada in Reno. While in graduate school, she worked in Washington, D.C. for the I.F.Y.E. program.
In January 1959 Margaret Ann worked in public relations at the National Bank of Commerce in Pine Bluff. While working there she met Judge Lawrence E. Dawson. Margaret Ann and her family were active members of Good Faith Methodist Church. On November 10, 1959 she and Lawrence were married there. They both created a happy haven for themselves and their daughters at home in Pine Bluff.
Margaret Ann was also a Second Grade, Home Economics and Adult Education Science teacher. She worked in nutrition with the dieticians at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide. In 1966 she was a finalist in the Arkansas Chicken Cooking Contest in Hot Springs. In 1967 Margaret Ann, accompanied by her husband Lawrence, was Mrs. Arkansas in the Mrs. America Pageant in San Diego, California. In the Children’s entertainment category, she won third place.
She was a member of 4-H, where she was given the 4-H Emerald Award for being in the club for over 50 years. She also belonged to I.F.Y.E, the Jefferson County Homemakers Extension Club and was presented with a 50-year membership certificate. In the Daughters of the American Revolution, in which she was a Regent, she earned a 50-year membership award. Governor Huckabee gave her a Civic Award and she received a certificate for Human Relations and Civic Contributions on All Civic Night in Pine Bluff in 1988. Margaret Ann also belonged to the Simmons Classic Club, Christian Women’s Association, Salvation Army Auxiliary, where she served as President. She was Vice President of the P.T.A., President of her Watson Chapel Alumni, a member of Strumming Seniors, an election worker at various elections, member of the Pine Bluff Symphony and Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Sister Cities, Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean and Beautiful Commission, Neighborhood Watch, a Tusk Hog Razorback member, member of Jefferson County Democratic Women, she co-chaired the style show and luncheon for Judicial Wives in 1980, telephone contact ministry, Master Gardeners and Pine Bluff Musical Coterie.
At First Presbyterian Church, which she joined in 1959, she was in the choir, was a Blessings Cookbook Writer, helped with Vacation Bible School and WWJD, taught and attended Sunday School, was a hostess at potlucks and cooked meals for Martha’s Friends, participated in the Halloween Carnival, served on the Sesquicentennial History Committee and was a member of Presbyterian Women’s Circle.
Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, singing, reading, watching and attending Razorback games, watching classic movies and television, painting, traveling, sewing, playing bunko and bridge, writing and decorating.
Margaret Ann was happiest being with her family, friends and when she was interacting and making connections with people.
Margaret Ann was the best wife, mother, and mother-in-law to Lawrence, Dana and Mac, Robin and Greg and Laura.
This Christian woman touched many children’s and adult’s lives with her grace, beauty and kindness.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil and Henry Martin Dial, Jr.; husband, Judge Lawrence Dawson; her daughter, Laura Dawson Chamberlin; her brother, Dr. Bud Dial; her sister, Pat Henry; Allie and Lawrence Dawson, Sr.; and Banks (Louise) and John (Nelle Jane) Dawson.
Survivors include daughters, Dana McLellan and her husband, Mac, and Robin Banks Dawson; son-in-law, Greg Chamberlin; brother-in-law, Sterling Henry; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A private graveside service will be 2:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14, 2020 at Graceland Cemetery with Reverend John Landis officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday evening from 4:30-7:30 pm at Robinson’s. Current Arkansas covid-19 guidelines of 10 people visiting at a time will apply for the visitation.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church 717 West 32nd Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603 or International Farm Youth Exchange, Margaret Ann Dawson Memorial Fund, c/o Pat Hutsell, 3670 N. Bayou Hill Road, Parker, Colorado 80134-5111.
Arrangements were by Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors of Pine Bluff. Online register and service streaming will be available on www.RalphRobinsonandSon.com.