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Michael V. Dawes, Sr.

Posted By Wendy On July 8, 2010 @ 12:27 pm In Obituaries | 10 Comments


Michael V. Dawes, Sr.


Thompson, CT – Michael Voorhees Dawes, Sr., considered by his family and friends as a person who helped guide, shape, and touch many lives in a positive way, died of cancer at his home in Thompson, Connecticut, on July 6, 2010.  His rich life was marked by a strong love of family, friends, learning, and renewal.  The imprint he leaves in the lives of those he knew is a testament to his character and will be felt and honored for decades to come.

Michael Dawes was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 20, 1944, to Edmund Klotz and Eleanor Poland Dawes and grew up on a farm in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.  As a youngster, he attended Camp Tecumseh in New Hampshire, where he spent eight years learning the love of sport and the value of camaraderie.  He also spent an adventurous summer at Keywadin Camp in Ontario, canoeing from Ontario to Montreal; this spirit stayed with him during his life — he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, hiked the pyramids in Giza, and travelled extensively.

As a student at The Hill School Pottstown, Mike was also active in sports.  On matriculating to Trinity College in 1962 as an economics and religion major, he played varsity football and lacrosse and sang with the a cappella group, The Trinidads.  Upon graduation in 1966, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City on a Rockefeller Fellowship Award, pursuing the study of Old Testament interpretation.  Later in his life, he returned to school and earned his Masters in Education from Rider University in 1992.

Mike worked diligently for more than four decades during which time he was deeply devoted to two things:  The first was his family.  In 1967, Mike married Lynn Elizabeth Cameron and settled in the Princeton, New Jersey area where they raised their two children, Margaret Dawes Bernholz of San Anselmo, California, and Michael Voorhees Dawes, Jr. of Victor Idaho. 

The second was Mike’s love of the outdoors; he was a fly-fishing enthusiast who learned his love of the sport from his father and an outdoorsman who enjoyed upland bird hunting.  He travelled to far-off places such as Norway, Iceland, Alaska, and Mexico in pursuit of the ultimate fishing experience.  Mike’s passion for “the sport” extended beyond his own enjoyment.  He took great pleasure in always being a learner — enthusiastically ready to share his angling knowledge and teach others how to love to fish. 

Mike’s aspirations also led him to the military where, in 1967, he excelled as a member of the PA Army National Guard and the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary.  At the conclusion of his basic training, he was honored as the brigade recipient of the American Spirit Award for outstanding leadership and character.  In 1969, Mike attended Officer Candidate School and was awarded honors as a Distinguished Graduate.  He continued as an active member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary Army Reserve, serving as Executive Officer and later as an honorary member.

Mike’s professional career spanned from business to education and was clearly marked for success and leadership.  In 1967, he joined Discount Corporation, a government securities dealer in New York City, where his focus was sales.  He was an integral force in strengthening and expanding Discount’s customer base and rose to Senior Vice President and Head of Sales.  After twenty-three years, he decided to continue work in finance with his father at Philadelphia Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  In 1992, Mike found his true professional calling as he entered the educational field and joined the faculty at Hyde School in Bath, Maine, the college preparatory, character-focused school from which his son, Michael, graduated in 1992.  As a member of the Hyde family, Mike served as Chief Financial Officer, Director of Admissions, Director of Development, Associate Head of School, teacher, and coach.  After seven years working at Hyde School in Maine, he and Lynn moved to Hyde School in Woodstock, Connecticut to continue their work and dedication to the school.  Mike cared deeply about every individual and function at Hyde Schools.  He cared about others’ successes, mentored tirelessly to help students and faculty alike, always committed to guiding his students, peers, and colleagues toward their best potential.  He was revered as a mentor and inspiration to students and parents.  Recently, while addressing an audience of Hyde families, Mike said, “Undoubtedly, working at Hyde School was the best job I could have ever had.”

Mike also enjoyed his work as a committed board member for various organizations.  He served for twelve years as a trustee at The Ethel Walker School, where his daughter was Class of ‘89, for twenty years as a trustee at the Whitehall Foundation, and in various capacities on the Board of Directors of the Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club, where he was both a member for twenty-six years and a resident.  His longtime tenure as Chair of Blooming Grove’s all-important Fishing Committee resulted in significant changes to its fishing practices.

Mike will be remembered for the rich life he had, the gentleman he was, the wealth of friends he had, and for the way he enriched the lives of others.  He lived his life with purpose, gusto, and laughter — perhaps his most memorable hallmark.  When he entered a room, he lit it up with his passion, his cheer, and his brimming optimism.  There were very few obstacles in his life — and any he encountered along the way were quickly transformed into opportunities. 

Mike Dawes is survived by his wife, Lynn, his daughter, Margaret Bernholz, a son Michael, Jr., his grandchildren, Cameron Michael and Eleanor Catherine Bernholz, his son-in-law, Dennis Bernholz, a sister, Hutchinson Dawes Cummin and a brother, Edmund K. Dawes.

There will be a memorial service at the Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday, July 24 at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, the Dawes family graciously welcomes contributions to be directed to Hyde School, the Michael V. Dawes Scholarship Fund.  Gilman and Valade Funeral Homes have been entrusted with the arrangements.

Condolences for the family of “Michael V. Dawes, Sr.”

Condolence from Patricia A Grayson on July 9th, 2010 8:12 pm

To Mrs. Dawes and family,
I met Mike when he began his careeer in Discount Corporation. I was immediately taken with his smile and his all encompassing laugh. For that matter, I thought he was the best looking fellow I had ever seen!
He was a wonderful co-worker and was admired by everyone, both male and female.
I left Discount in 1973 to begin my family, and we lost touch.
I never forgot him and spoke fondly of him, always, to my friends from Discount..Pat Driscoll, Lester Keely, Marie Walden, Diana Crain. Mike was beloved and held in high esteem. Every now and again, someone would “hear” something about Mike and share it with us. He was always close to our hearts and in our prayers.

I am so sorry that I didn’t know the Mike Dawes that all of the people on the facebook website knew…but knowing the young man, filled with life and so much in love with his wife and family was enough to last my lifetime.

Thankyou for making Mike happy..and may God give you peace during this time.

Condolence from Amy Mass on July 11th, 2010 9:03 pm

Hi, Mike,
I see you smiling from heaven. You are the salt of the earth. I am so very blessed to have had you in my life and in my Andy’s life. To say that you will always remain an incredible inspiration is an understatement. Peace be with you .

Condolence from Craig Moss on July 11th, 2010 11:59 pm

I was new to Hyde and scarred when my child and I signed up for the Hyde experience. I remember so clearly the motivative and reassuring talk that Mike gave my first day. It has stuck with me. Later as a HAPA I was invited to a dinner with him and enjoyed anew his spirit and most of all his humor. He had that smile and that laugh, it was so disarming and warm. It will feel strange to go back to Hyde and not see Mike and hear his words of wisdom. I can only imagine the tremendious loss it must be for those who knew him better then I. I am so sorry for your loss, he was extraordinary. Craig Moss

Condolence from David Smith on July 12th, 2010 10:27 am

Mike’s world-renouned smile and laughter would light up any room. He was a heck of a lot of fun to be around.
I have never known anyone who seemed to love life more than him. unfortunately our paths have not crossed since those days
in the late sixties with the FTPCC.
I had heard from his sister Hutchie that Mike had not been well.
How sad that he had to go at such an early age. This world will be far darker without him.
My deepest sympathy to his family.

Condolence from PETER BERNHOLZ on July 15th, 2010 4:33 am


Condolence from Peter Gall on July 16th, 2010 2:53 pm

I knew Mike during his career at Discount Corporation. He was a joy to be around as well as being a talented salesman who developed many friends in the industry. I lost track of him when I left Discount, but through the years got reports about him from mutual friends. In his second career in education at the Hyde School he obviously touched the hearts and minds of many young people. I am sorry our paths did not cross during these years but his reputation as a counselor and educator were well known. He will be missed. My sympathy to Lynn and the rest of the Dawes family.
Peter Gall

Condolence from David Peake on July 19th, 2010 4:35 pm

Dear Lynn,

The entire Peake family sends their love and condolences to you and your family. I was hoping to make it to Trinity on Saturday but Cam is recovering from foot surgery and it’s not easy for her to get around right now. I emailed Liggett with the sad news but he is in Afghanistan in the Army and not really in communication with anyone for security reasons. I know how much he much appreciated both yours and Mike’s support while he was at Hyde. And a big ditto on that from Cam and me. MIke was in our prayers and we will miss him. Our deepest sympathies.

David and Cam

Condolence from linda s. guido on January 12th, 2012 3:58 pm

It was my pleasure to work for Mike for many years at Discount Corporation. Whenever I think of the good times at Discount Mike always comes to mind. I’m shacking my head in agreement as I’m reading all the things written about him – his smile and laugh, how he lit up a room when entering, being so full of life, the gentleman he was. Mike was a wonderful person and was obviously loved by many. He truly will be missed by all who knew him. The world was a better place for Micheal V. Dawes being in it……

Condolence from John Fuller on January 31st, 2017 2:36 am

I had the pleasure of working and playing with Mike for many years. He served on the Board of Olympic Saving in Seattle WA and would fly to Seattle once a month. I remember his great simile and laugh and he would never seem to be down even when thing weren’t going the best. I will miss our fun fishing trips and going to Blooming Grove for a weekend. I would fly back 4 time a year to meet Mike and our dinners were a highlight of the trip. One summer Mike spent a week on my boat and he was able to meet my whole family and the all remember fondly. I will miss him but his memories will always live with me forever.

Condolence from David macEwen on July 27th, 2021 3:08 pm

I worked twice at Discount Corporation in the 70’s. I was a clerk and he was a VP. He always treated me the same as he would the CEO. Whenever I needed a signature from a senior officer I went to him. He was never in a bad mood. He was one of the few people on Wall St. that was never bad mouthed.

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