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Ryley Dawson ~ Oct. 12, 1934 – Nov. 5, 2012

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 6th, 2012


Ryley Dawson


Ryley Dawson died Nov. 5, 2012, in Fort Collins, Colo., after a long and painful battle with dementia.

He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Oct. 12, 1934. He was a resident of Evanston for much of his adult life. His last years were spent in Fort Collins, close to his daughter, Alison.

Ryley was an educator, a hunter, a fisherman, coach, an avid sports fan, a counselor, a loyal friend, a dog lover and an amazing parent and grandparent. He loved his friends and family deeply, and was always willing to help the people he loved with an open ear and an open heart. During his battle with dementia, he never lost his generous spirit or his sense of humor.

In his years as an educator, Ryley was a guidance counselor, a high school principal, a teacher, a coach and a psychological technician. During his years as an educator, he touched countless lives. Many former students have shared that he saved their lives during rough times when they needed support and it was hard to come by. Additionally, as an educator, Ryley never failed to fight for what he felt was right for his students and the schools he worked in. This passion for justice was transmitted to his children, who learned so much from his fighting spirit. In his later years, Ryley fondly remembered his years as an educator and treasured the many friends and students he met during his career.

Outside of work, Ryley loved fishing and hunting. He raised hunting dogs for most of his adult life, and loved the time he spent with his dogs. From his childhood on, he loved the outdoors and treasured the time he spent hunting and fishing with many of his friends and family. Every year, he looked forward to the fall and his hunting trips.

Ryley was a coach in his early career, and an avid sports fan his entire life. He was extremely proud of coaching a wrestling team at Ben Lomond High School, and winning a state championship. When he retired from the school district, he followed Evanston sports up until the time he moved away. In his later years in Wyoming, he enjoyed following his grandson Ryley’s wrestling career, and was extremely proud of his accomplishments.

Above all, Ryley loved his three kids and his seven grandkids. He always wanted them close and loved them deeply. Much of his time was spent talking with them, spending time with them or worrying about them! They learned many things from Ryley, and those lessons continued to be learned, even as he struggled with dementia. He never stopped being a parent and grandparent, and was focused on his kids and grandkids until the end of his life.

With the end of his life, we physically lose Ryley, but the things that he gave us will always live on in all of us who were lucky enough to be a part of his life.

He is preceded in death by his brother, Darrow Dawson; mother Ellen McMurdie; and father William Finch Dawson.

He is survived by his daughters, Andrea and Alison; his son Eric; and seven grandchildren.

The family would like to thank the many wonderful caregivers who helped him in his last years of life. We will be forever grateful for those friends, neighbors and angels who watched over him and helped him stay in Evanston, and for those who cared for him when he came to Fort Collins.

A Celebration of Ryley’s Life will take place Jan. 4, 2013, in Evanston, with the location to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Ryley’s name to Ducks Unlimited or the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern Colorado.











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