Frank C. Dawson Biography

Frank Clark Dawson was born, September 4, 1934, on West Fifth Street in East Liverpool, Ohio, the same street where he was bred, baptized, banks, and works as a funeral director - the only job he has ever had.

He has appeared extensively throughout the United States and Canada as a platform personality, master of ceremonies and seminar leader for good reason. His witty, fast-paced and forceful presentations on life and how to live it have served as a positive theme for countless motivational meetings, sports banquets, fundraisers and a myriad of other events for the greater portion of his adult life. 

In the words of well-known author and newspaper columnist, Charles Cronin, “His personal instinct for getting things done – right – and his unbridled energy have enabled him to achieve results where others have failed”. In 1986, Mr. Dawson spearheaded a drive to organize all graduates of East Liverpool High School for the purpose of returning the community’s 126-foot high Clock Tower to the downtown business district, while developing a scholarship fund for current students. Since its inception, the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association has raised nearly five million dollars, granted more than $400,000 in scholarships and has established an impressive office/museum complex in conjunction with the Clock Tower, which was dedicated, in his name, on July 4, 1992.

Through his capacity as president of the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association (from which he retired December 31, 1998), Mr. Dawson has been responsible for organizing three All-Class Reunions, which attracted more than 15,000 former graduates, and saw him named a Distinguished Alumnus of the City school system.

Time constraints have made it impossible for him to be an active member of any service or fraternal clubs, but he has been made an honorary member of both the high school Key Club and the East Liverpool Kiwanis Club; presented a Paul Harris Fellowship by the East Liverpool Rotary Club; named to the Ohio Elks Hall of Fame and is a recipient of a W.R. Bryan Fellowship from the Ohio Lions Club. He has also received both the Civic Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the local Jaycees and has been elected to his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in the “special category”. In addition, he is also a recipient of the Community Service Award from the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio and in 2011 was named by the East Liverpool Campus of Kent State University to their Wall of Fame. He received a similar award from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2013

Mr. Dawson was the founder and is president of the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, which was dedicated on July 5, 1998. The purpose of the organization is to honor individuals from all phases of life in the Upper Ohio Valley for contributions they have made to their communities; to offer a source of history for the towns from Western Beaver County, PA, to Wheeling, WV, and Bridgeport, OH, on both sides of the Ohio River, as well as provide scholarships, through the generosity of Coach Holtz, for students from each of the vocational schools in the area to continue their educations. He was inducted into the Hall in 1999 and the lane that connects West Fifth Street and West Fourth Street in East Liverpool was named Dawson Way in 2006.

Professionally, he has been a practicing mortician for his entire working life and was named a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner by the American Academy of Funeral Service in 1992. The CFSP is the highest honor in funeral service. A 50 year plus member of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association along with the Ohio Embalmers Association, he is also a 40-year plus member of the National Speakers Association and a life member of the Toy Train Collectors Association.

In 2006, he donated his extensive collection of Lionel Trains to the Holtz Hall of Fame and supervised the construction of two extensive layouts made up of postwar and prewar standard and O gauge rolling stock.

As the former president and current senior director of The Dawson Funeral Home of East Liverpool, he has conducted more than 15,000 funerals for the firm, while often traveling to distant cities to assist with services of dignitaries and friends. To further fulfill a need for families the funeral home serves, Mr. Dawson and his family purchased the former Sturgis Funeral Home in East Liverpool and opened its doors as a restored Victorian bed and breakfast over the July 4th weekend 1998.

Mr. Dawson is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, the National Foundation of Funeral Service and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He received his undergraduate degree from Baldwin-Wallace College where he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for a number of years. In 1999, he was presented an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from the College and in 2007 was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame..

Married to the former Gretchen Beede, the couple resides on a 125-acre tree farm, north of East Liverpool, in a restored 100-year-old barn. The Dawsons have four children and eight grandchildren.

A cancer survivor, he is an advocate of early detection for prostate cancer and has written an extensive report on his experience which appeared in the New York Times on December 2, 2008.

In the Fall of 2015, he released a comprehensive text book for funeral homes entitled Transformational Funeral Service. To quote noted author, educator and funeral historian, Dr. Todd VanBeck, “You have hit it out of the ball park with your effort, Frank. It is a blend of knowledge, experience, wisdom and staff training all combined into one book”.

He is also the author of three other books: Keep The Spirit Burnin’, which chronicles the formation of a high school alumni association, We Are The Potters, a history of the first 100 years of East Liverpool High School football from 1898 to 1997, and Picking Elderberries.

Completed and released in July of 2010, Picking Elderberries, traces the history of his hometown from its founding in 1798 to present times in a narrative entertaining fashion.
Keep The Spirit Burnin’, We Are The Potters and Picking Elderberries are each out of print.

Since 1945, when he saw his first East Liverpool High School football game he admits to having been hooked on “Potter” football - serving the team over the years in a variety of capacities ranging from student manager to athletic trainer.

Throughout his over 65-year association with the team, he has been deeply involved with booster organizations, banquets, cards sections, pep rallies and fund raising. He is known for seldom missing a practice session or game and still rides the team’s yellow school bus to away contests on Friday night providing a written account for on personal site  read worldwide.


Frank C. Dawson
P.O. Box 888
215 West Fifth Street
East Liverpool OH 43920
330-385-1010 (office)
330-383-0469 (cellular)