Funeral Director: Frank Dawson

  • Frank the Funeral Director

    Frank C. Dawson appears in front of the Dawson Funeral Home, his only place of employment dating back to the summer of 1951. The building, once the home of noted industrialist Monroe Patterson, was acquired by Frank's father in 1939 and has since been transformed into a 52-room establishment surrounded by two parking lots and an additional facility for post-funeral gatherings.

  • 1936 Buick Flixible Funeral Coach

    The 1936 Buick Flixible Funeral Coach pictured is similar to the vehicle used when, as an seven-year old youngster, Frank Dawson made his first death call with his father and long-time Dawson Funeral Home associate Joe Wyand. It was referred to as a "straight car," meaning it could not be converted into an ambulance as was often the case prior to and immediately following World War II.

  • The funeral procession can take many forms

    Funerals can take many forms, ranging from processions led by marching bands and fire engines to antique cars - even animals. In these situations, funeral directors are wise to observe two rules. First, "The customer is always right." Rule number two, "If you think the customer is wrong, go back and read rule number one." Frank Dawson, wearing his favorite Borsalino hat, is pictured beside an "always right" situation encompassing some 40 motorcycles escorting their friend for one last ride.

  • Ladies in funeral service class taught by Glenn Drake at Evanston, Illinois, circa 1964

    Following World War II, National Selected Morticians, under the leadership of their executive director Wilber M. Kreiger, established the National Foundation of Funeral Service in Evanston, Illinois. The primary purpose of the organization was to offer courses in funeral management, including the one pictured, which was designed strictly for women. The lead instructor was Glenn Drake (pictured top left), a veteran of the New York theatrical world, who, in his teaching, emphasized the art of decorum, style and refinement.

  • Vintage Funeral Supplier Items

    Funeral directors have always been inundated with curious articles provided by their suppliers, which are destined, in some cases, to become collectors’ items. Pictured upper left (courtesy of Mike Squires) is a device that resembles a multi-bladed pen knife, but was actually used to measure the thickness of casket metals by the Belmont Casket Company, who also provided the mini-clipboard and bottle cap. The desk clock and wood mounted medallion were sales perks from the Marsellus Casket Company. Clark Vault Company playing cards, a Freedom Casket Company tape measure and more Belmont items round out the display.

  • Funeral Director Guy Thompson of Fort Worth, Texas, with Frank Dawson

    Mr. Guy Thompson, the "funeral director's" "funeral director," pictured with Frank Dawson, became employed in his chosen profession prior to WWII and until his 90th birthday, provided bon-ton funerals for the families he served in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas. Eventually known for his grace and elegant style, he began working as a car washer and errand boy for the firm he would one day own, Harveson and Cole, where he became eminently respected for the words of wisdom and the advice he passed on to the countless followers who admired him and made an effort to follow in his footsteps.