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Memories & Candles

“I worked with Jack early in my career at Grinnell College, most notably on his Flow-of-Funds book. He could be a bit gruff sometimes, but at the...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Terri Phipps - Grinnell, IA

“Bruce and family, I am very sorry to hear about your father's passing. May your years of memories give you comfort during this difficult time.Shelly...Read More »
2 of 5 | Posted by: Shelly Kester Pollock - Belton, MO

“Jack Dawson was an incredible teacher. I still use what he taught me about economics when I teach my history classes. Wanda Wakefield, Grinnell '75 ”
3 of 5 | Posted by: Wanda Wakefield

“I enjoyed knowing Jack Dawson as a teacher, advisor, and mentor in my field of study. I also worked parts of two summers with him on a research grant...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: David Abel - Mankato, MN

“Jack Dawson was a wonderful and thoughtful professor who also provided a strong dose of reality to students who were not properly focused.He had a...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Roger McClung - Washington, DC


John C. "Jack" Dawson, 90, professor emeritus of economics, died on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at his home in the Mayflower Community.

A celebration of life service will be held 10:30 a.m., Saturday, December 3, 2016, in the Carman Center of the Mayflower Community with Deanna Shorb, Dean of Religious Life at Grinnell College and Christina Tinker, Chaplain of the Mayflower Community, officiating. Pianist will be Dr. William Tinker. The Smith Funeral Home of Grinnell was in charge of arrangements.John C. "Jack" Dawson, 90, professor emeritus of economics, died on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at his home in the Mayflower Community.

A celebration of life service will be held 10:30 a.m., Saturday, December 3, 2016, in the Carman Center of the Mayflower Community with Deanna Shorb, Dean of Religious Life at Grinnell College and Christina Tinker, Chaplain of the Mayflower Community, officiating. Pianist will be Dr. William Tinker. The Smith Funeral Home of Grinnell was in charge of arrangements.

Should friends desire, memorials in Jack's name may be directed to Amnesty International, World Vision International or to Doctors without Borders and sent in care of the Smith Funeral Home, P.O. Box 368, Grinnell, Iowa 50112.

Jack was born on August 5, 1926, in Rochester, New York to George and Laura Dawson. He was raised in Rochester and graduated from high school there. He attended Middlebury College and went on to obtain his doctorate of economics from Cornell University. Jack interrupted his education twice to serve in the United States Navy during World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Jack was united in marriage to Edith Marion Gordon on September 10, 1949. The couple resided in Maryland and he taught at the University of Maryland.

Jack joined the Grinnell College faculty in 1957, the same year he completed his PhD from Cornell, specializing in monetary economics and fiscal policy. He taught at Grinnell for near 40 years.

Throughout his career, he also served as an economist with the Federal Reserve Board, as a consultant to the World Bank, and as a consultant to the international monetary fund. He also led projects for the World Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development to evaluate financial systems in places such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Jack also accepted a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to teach at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he and his family lived from 1969 to 1971. While in Uganda, Jack became an accomplished Indian Chef, a passion he carried throughout his life.

Jack was a lifelong fan of classical music, a self-taught pianist and he particularly enjoyed conducting Mozart concertos in his living room.

Survivors include his wife, Edith Marion Dawson of Grinnell; his daughter, Lauren Dawson of Lakewood, Colorado; and his son, Bruce Dawson of Centennial, Colorado; and two grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Robert I. Dawson.

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