Sept. 19, 1942-Feb. 6, 2023
After 80 years of a life well-lived, Dan Dawson passed away on February 6, 2023. Dan was born on September 19, 1942 in Rockville Centre, New York to Daniel W. Dawson and Frances Davison Dawson. Dan grew up in Oceanside, New York, graduating from Oceanside High School in 1960 and then heading off to Cornell University, where he majored in mechanical engineering.
While at Cornell, he met the love of his life, Elizabeth (Betty) Enzel, a student at nearby SUNY-Cortland. They married on August 14, 1965 and moved to the Boston area to pursue further graduate studies. Dan received a Master’s degree in 1968 and a PhD in 1973 from MIT in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. First living in Cambridge, followed by Arlington and then Bedford, Dan worked at the Watertown Arsenal conducting research on metal alloys for various national defense applications which inspired his doctoral thesis in titanium alloys. Always an avid runner, Dan ran the Boston Marathon four times between 1968 and 1974.
Dan, Betty, and their two sons headed west in November, 1974 when Dan took a position with Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California and purchased a home in Pleasanton, where he lived until his passing. Over the course of 30 years with Sandia he worked on both defense-related projects and a nascent solar-energy generation program. He continued his passion for running, including doing several marathons and regularly “commuting” home by running the 12 miles from Sandia.
Dan and Betty traveled extensively, ranging from family road trips around California and the west to the British Isles, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and southeast Asia, plus many vacations to their favorite Hawaiian island of Kauai. Dan also reveled in his Scottish heritage, being active for many years with the Caledonian Club of San Francisco and its annual Highland Games in Pleasanton in addition to the Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization. Starting back in his high school days, his interest in World War II aircraft and insignia led to a lifelong mission of collecting insignia and developing an extensive library of WWII history, technical details, and strategic analysis.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Frances, and Betty, his wife of 43 years. He is survived by his brother, Richard, of Cary, Illinois, and sons, Dan of Novato, California and Jonathan (Karen) of New York City as well as several nieces and nephews.