Dr. Thelma P. Dawson A Life Well Lived

November 08, 2022
Dr. Thelma P. Dawson, DDS Dr. Thelma P. Dawson, DDS

Every generation has a leading voice that speaks to the needs of the underserved, poor, and working class in their community. For the people of Darlington County in South Carolina, Dr. Thelma P. Dawson was that voice. On October 30, 2022, that voice went silent when Dr. Dawson transitioned to the next level in her journey. Her homegoing services were held at noon on November 4, 2022 at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church.

A public servant, Dr. Dawson served nearly 34 years on the Darlington County Board of Education and many years on the Darlington County Community Action Agency Board. Her voice on community concerns was the voice of reason when others were speaking from emotion. The Darlington County School District website noted that she was a champion for children, always fighting hard in the best interest of the students of Darlington County.

Dr. Dawson was the representative of the third district for the Darlington County School District Board of Education in South Carolina. She ran against incumbent Joyce Wingate Thomas in the general election on November 4, 2014. Dr. Dawson won the general election on November 4, 2014.

A former member of the Darlington County School District Board of Education stated, “Many years ago, when I served as a member of the Board of Education, I saw firsthand how easy it is for people to tear things down and tear them apart, and how hard it is to build something. I was reminded of that when I visited with Dr. Thelma Dawson in Darlington one morning after her mother, Mrs. Pugh, had died. We served on the School Board together and it was Dr. Dawson’s ideas and hard work that brought the Mayo Magnet School into existence for Darlington County. The fight was hard. People declared they would never send their kids to such a school. Today, we know that Mayo is the top choice for many Darlington County students and parents. Building that program was really difficult.”

Ms. Audrey Davis stated, “An example for children and adults in the Pee Dee region, Dr. Dawson stood tall on issues important to the growth and development of the region and South Carolina. Her advice was much sought after by community leaders, elected officials, and church voices. “I send condolences to the Dawson family. Dr. Dawson was a political warrior and full of wisdom. I had the pleasure of working with her on several campaigns trying to make a positive difference in the community. She will be missed.”

Dr. James A. Franklin, Sr. posted, “An outstanding humanitarian! God’s gift to the world! Thanks be to God! Thoughts and prayers to all who loved her.”

As a leading African American Dentist in the Pee Dee region, Dr. Dawson practiced with her husband, Dr. Don Dawson, and they served the dental needs of residents in Darlington and Florence counties with care and respect. Dr. Dawson also served on Darlington Mayor Gloria G. Hines’ transition team as well as other boards and commissions in the South Carolina and across the nation.