The world lost a kind, generous and honorable man when James A. Dawson, formerly of Salem, MA, passed away unexpectedly at Massachusetts General Hospital on April 13, 2023, at the age of 74. James was raised in Newtown, CT and attended Ricker College in Houlton, Maine. In 1967, James’s adventurous spirit led him to work on the MS Gripsholm, a Swedish-American ship, where he was able to experience many exotic ports of call. James’s life-long love of cars resulted in a 52-year career as the proprietor of Small Wheels (formerly The Bug Inn in Salem, MA), specializing in foreign auto repair, in Swampscott, MA. James enjoyed attending Nascar races and watching them on TV. He was an avid reader, world traveler, and enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing. He was a member of the Clipped Wings Ski Club in North Conway, NH for over 25 years. James loved watching all sports, especially the Boston sports teams. He enjoyed playing poker with his decades’ long friends. James was a good cook & would grill food year-round. He enjoyed listening to music, going to art museums & galleries. For many years, James was a season ticket holder at the NSMT. James was always willing to help people in need and donated to many charities. James volunteered for the Boston Marathon, the annual New England Folk Festival, The Walk for Hunger for many years. James was an animal lover and his cat Pierre is lost without him. Most of all, James loved spending time with his family. James leaves behind his beloved wife of almost 27 years, Diane Docekal-Dawson, his son Tyler Dawson, daughter Mary (Christian) Della Piana, grandsons William and Casey Della Piana, who he loved taking to the PEM, Salem Willows, restaurants and working with them on puzzles. James also leaves behind his mother in-law Estelle Sparzynski, sister in-law Paula (William) Kettler, brothers in-law Frank (Christine) Docekal and Allen Docekal, sister in-law Gloria Dawson, nieces, nephews, cousins, godson Christopher Henriques, former wife Elizabeth Dawson, dedicated employees David and Arber and many friends. He is predeceased by his parents Henry and May Dawson and brother Henry (Hank) Dawson.
Celebration of James's Life will be held on Satruday, July 15, in the Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 S. Main Street, Haverhill with services beginning at 11:30 AM where you will be able to share a story or memory of James. Reception will follow. Please consider contributions in his memory to the Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA 01970 or at www.neas.org. For guestbook, visit www.driscollcares.com
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of James A. Dawson, please visit our floral store.