Theodore Dawson of McClellanville, SC, passed away on 19 April 2023, peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family, at Shem Creek Health Center, in Mt Pleasant, SC. He was 94.
Ted was born in Miami, FL in 1928. Sadly, his father, Theodore Sr. was killed by a drunk driver before Ted was a year old, leaving his mother, Carlotta, to bring him up alone. She moved back to her hometown of McClellanville where Ted’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the Village itself helped raise him.
Ted was a Navy veteran, having been commissioned an Ensign upon graduation from his beloved United States Merchant Marine Academy, at Kings Point, NY, in 1952, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Architecture. He served more than eleven years on diesel-electric submarines in the US Navy Reserve before entering the Inactive Reserve to focus on his career with the American Bureau of Shipping. He met his first wife Mary Anne while at Kings Point and together they had three children, Kathleen, Julie, and Theodore (Skip) III. With ABS, and running his own business, Ted spent most of his working life as a Naval Architect and Marine Surveyor, doing his best to keep the big ships at sea. His work saw him and his family move around the globe, including more than a decade in Japan, four years in Iran, and numerous assignments around the US. His US assignments included Florida, Ohio, Virginia, as well as California where he met his second wife, Elizabeth. Ted and Elizabeth welcomed children, Philip and Meghan, eventually, permanently relocating to Ted’s hometown of McClellanville to raise them. Ted’s mother passed away not long after he moved his family home.
Ted was an active member of the community, including Civic Club, the McClellanville Volunteer Fire Department, the Town Planning Commision, and Archibald Rutledge Academy where he not only helped design and build the gymnasium but lustily cheered his children, and all the children of the Village, during their basketball games. “GO BLUE!” Ted continued to work for ABS, becoming known around the maritime world as a true expert in his field. He worked for ABS into his 70s before “retiring” and becoming an independent consultant with his own business. His wife Elizabeth passed away suddenly in 2009 and focusing on work helped him through his grief. He finally retired at age 85.
Ted is survived by his five adult children, six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Friends and family are invited to a memorial service on 7 May, 2023 at 2 PM, at New Wappetaw Presbyterian Church, 635 Pinckney St, McClellanville, SC 29458. A private interment ceremony will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests making a donation to The Village Museum in McClellanville, SC or The United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation in Ted’s name.