Tribute to Ron Dawson
Today the London Chamber of Commerce remembers and celebrates the life of our longest-standing member, volunteer, and Past President, Ronald Dawson. As an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and champion for London, the positive impact that Ron had on so many lives in our community simply cannot be overstated.
Ron was the President of Towne and Country Furniture Manufacturing from 1956-1959 before commencing his retirement jobs as Chairman and President of R.C. Dawson Co. Ltd.
For over 60 years, Ron was an active member of the London Chamber of Commerce serving on the Board of Directors and as President of the Board from 1986-1987. Even after his term on the Board of Directors was over, Ron continued to play an active role on the Chamber’s policy committee thanks to his keen interest in politics.
Almost without fail, Ron would attend every major Chamber event that he could including AGMs, London Business Achievement Awards, State of the City, political speaker events, and Past Presidents’ Golf Tournaments (even though Ron himself, didn’t golf, he was always a welcome guest at the dinner portion of the event!). This continued until Ron moved away from London, but even then, he kept in touch with his friends from the London Chamber and he still periodically attended events as recently as 2022.
“Ron was one of the first Chamber members that I met after starting with the London Chamber in 2009,” said Kristen Duever, VP of Public Affairs. “He instantly made me feel very welcomed, and it was such an honour to be able to work with him for several years in the Chamber’s policy committee. He will be deeply missed.”
“Ron Dawson was a true gentleman”, remarked Julia Cunningham, Director of Events. “He always greeted the staff with a warm hug and always took an interest in how our day was going. He genuinely cared. He was the best storyteller and could ramble on about current events and past memories to help brighten your day. He will truly be missed.’
Former CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce, Gerry Macartney, remarked “As CEO of the Chamber for 24 years you get to meet a lot of outstanding members. None more so than Ron Dawson. He was the epitome of statesmanship, a true entrepreneur, an extraordinary philanthropist, a teacher, a mentor, a political junkie, and a great personal friend of mine. I count Ron Dawson among the three most honourable, most caring, most durable and most respected human beings I have met in my life. I will miss his guiding hand.”
In addition to the work he did at the London Chamber of Commerce, Ron was extremely active in the community in a number of other organizations as well. As someone who remembers growing up during the Great Depression and seeing Londoners struggle, community involvement and charity work was extremely important to Ron.
As a youngster, he would accompany his father distributing food to those in need. And as a young man, he would get involved with the London Community Foundation, helping to furnish the offices of this newly formed organization. In 2000, Ron and his late wife June established the June and Ronald Dawson Family Fund which is now managed by the London Community Foundation and is used to help charities throughout our city.
Ron has held an incredible number of volunteer positions on various boards and committees throughout the city in addition to the London Chamber of Commerce including boards of the Rotary Club of London, University Hospital, London Regional Art & Historical Museum, Canadian Club of London, Diabetes Canada, and Junior Achievement. He was also an active volunteer with Banting House.
In 2021, Ron was presented with a Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, and that same year he was inducted into Junior Achievement’s London and District Business Hall of Fame. Given the impact that he has had on our City, it is safe to say that his legacy will last a very long time.