Reverend Martin Lyle Dawson, Sr., was born on September 24, 1941, to James (Dee) and Virginia Lyle Dawson in Richmond Heights, Missouri. He departed this life on May 3, 2023, after a brief battle with cancer, in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family and entered his eternal rest.
Martin was an intelligent, conscientious, and studious man with a quick ability to grasp information and detail. Having spent his childhood in Kirkwood, MO, with many happy summer months in Hessel, MI, he was graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1959. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a Petty Officer Third Class from 1959 to 1962, attending the U.S. Communication School in Imperial Beach California in 1960.
On June 18, 1970, Martin was united in holy matrimony to Vickie Ross. In this union, they were blessed with six children: Faith (Henriquez), Hope, Charity, Martin II, John, and Angel. They were loving, caring parents who raised their children to honor and fear the Lord. Using his gifts of service and ministry to others, he and his family did independent mission work in the Canary Islands, Spain, and in San Francisco, CA.
Martin first pursued undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri. After answering the call to ministry, he received Biblical instruction and training at Bethany Bible College in California, where he earned a B.S. degree in 1976. He continued his preparation for ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, receiving his Master of Divinity degree in 1979. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in May 1979 and accepted a call to serve as pastor of Stratford Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Stratford Presbyterian Church), in Stratford, NJ. He was ordained to the ministry by the Presbytery of New Jersey on December 14, 1979.
He faithfully served at Stratford Presbyterian Church for over forty years, teaching his congregants the holy principles of the infallible word of God. One of his most memorable accomplishments was being the founder of Stratford Classical Christian Academy (SCCA) in 2003. The school flourished for twelve years, providing many students with an invaluable classical Christian education.
Reverend Martin Dawson truly had a servant’s heart. He faithfully served on various committees as a member of the New Jersey Presbytery for many years. He also used his gifts of wisdom and encouragement as chaplain in the Army National Guard from 1981–2001, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel, after which he served as chaplain for the Stratford Police and Fire Departments, remaining active in that role until recently. He was well known throughout Stratford and the surrounding areas and spent time on the Shade Tree Commission and with the Health Department. Reverend Dawson served in so many capacities that it would be difficult to list them all, but he will be particularly missed by the Square Circle Sportsmen Club, where he was a member for over twenty years, often giving invocations and providing other spiritual support for the members.
Reverend Martin L. Dawson was predeceased by Vickie, his loving wife of over forty years. He leaves to cherish his memory his children, Faith (Sidney) Henriquez of Pennsylvania, Hope Dawson of Ohio, Charity Dawson of Pennsylvania, Martin Dawson II, John (Nancy) Dawson, and Angel Dawson, all of New Jersey; a brother, John (Phyllis) Dawson of Missouri; a sister, Angie Boissevain of California; two sisters-in-law, Carol Rothwell and Donna (Steve) Savacool of New York; a brother-in-law, Allen (Kathleen) Ross of Maryland; fourteen grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; the members of Stratford Presbyterian Church; and many friends and acquaintances.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his visitation at Stratford Presbyterian Church, 41 Warwick Road, Stratford, NJ 08084 on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 from 9 AM to 10 AM, followed by a service beginning at 10 AM. An interment service will be held at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery, 350 Province Line Road, Wrightstown, NJ 08562 at 12:30 PM.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of DuBois Funeral Home, 700 South White Horse Pike, Audubon, NJ 08106. Condolences and memories may be shared at DuboisFuneralHome.