Dawson Alexander McQuaig Sr. died Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at his home in Jacksonville, Florida. A true self-made man, Dawson was known for his selfless love, which he shared with everyone he met, and his devotion to his family, his church and his city. His greatest attribute was his servant heart, which he exercised through his faith in Jesus Christ.
Dawson was born in Waycross, Georgia on October 1, 1931 and attended Andrew Jackson High School where he was a cheerleader for the Tigers and played trombone in the school band. He went on to study at Stetson University and later earned a law degree from the University of Florida. He also served his country by enlisting in the United States Army. Dawson enjoyed practicing law, and although he spent time in private practice, he was committed to using his degree in public service. He became an assistant public defender in 1968, served as an assistant state’s attorney from 1969 to 1972, and then served as a county judge until he was appointed Jacksonville’s general counsel by Mayor Hans Tanzler in 1976. He continued in that position under Mayor Jake Godbold.
Dawson was a member of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church for more than 50 years, where he served on various committees, sang in the choir, and attended Sunday school. His faith led him to serve on the board of the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, which he chaired in 2003. Dawson was also a member of the Riverside Lions Club and treasurer of the Jacksonville Jaycees.
Although he was a busy man outside his home, everyone who knew him knew he was the most loving husband and father a family could ask for as well as a loyal friend. Her six children have wonderful memories of family trips to the beach and the mountains, packing their school lunches and driving them to school playing “beetle bug”, doing terrible impersonations, grilling steaks on a Friday night before football games, attending their dance recitals and swimming competitions, clowning around with their friends and always encouraging everyone that any goal is possible with hard work. He was dad to Dawson Jr. (Sissy), Kim (Frank) and Blair (Chris) and “Big D” to his stepchildren, Erin (David), Rae (Chip) and Russell.
Dawson is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sylvia McQuaig, whom he adored. They enjoyed traveling the world, attending the Jacksonville Symphony and Jaguar, Gator and “Gator Bowl” games, fellowshipping with friends, serving their church, and spending time at their mountain home in Wolf Laurel, North Carolina. Dawson also enjoyed skiing, hunting, boating, golfing, and watching sporting events.
And he loved his grandchildren, who will never forget his unwavering support in all things, his big smile, his wild laughter and silly nature, his days grilling at the pool and his fun and rowdy family vacations. He was the grandfather of: Ashley (Taylor), Dawson III, James, Maisie, Daniel, Casey, Max, Jameson (Jessica), Colby (Hunter), Bradley, Hannah, Payson, Lauren, Lila, Caleb, Sophie, Patrick, Samuel, and Abbie. He was the great-grandfather of Beckett, Emma and Avery Kate.
Whether you knew him as Judge McQuaig, Dawson, “Big D”, Granddaddy or “Big D”, he was larger than life and will be deeply missed by all family members and friends. Please join the family in celebrating Dawson on October 1 at 11:00 a.m. at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church and for fellowship afterward. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Dawson’s name to the Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church Endowment Fund.
Posted August 15, 2022
Published in Florida Times Union