Because of your smile, you made life more beautiful (Thich Nhat Hahn).........
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened (Dr. Seuss).
  • 75 years old
  • Born on April 19, 1939 in Evanston, Illinois, United States.
  • Passed away on July 28, 2014 in Springfield, Virginia, United States.

Because Lilburn's family and friends are dispersed around the United States and the world, this online memorial has been established to celebrate his life.This is also his family's opportunity to recognize and thank people who played special roles in his life.

Please browse through the chapters of his life and the photos. We welcome your tributes, stories, photos, and comments on the contents. These will serve as keepsakes for Lilburn's family and friends on this permanent site. We hope that you return to see what others have posted and to add stories about Lilburn when you remember something about him.

We are really pleased that so many people have visited Lilburn's memorial site, and appreciate the tributes and stories posted. We'd love for other visitors who knew Lilburn and/or his family to add their remembrances.

If you know someone you think would like to see and contribute to this site, please forward the information to them.

Posted by Suzanne Wenzlaff on 28th July 2018
Remembering the good times we all had together--missing you. Lou and Suzanne Wenzlaff
Posted by David Whitfield on 20th April 2018
I think of you, Lilburn very, very often and I miss our conversations! I will always miss you more than one could ever know. Wish you were here!!!
Posted by Jacque Brown on 23rd April 2017
I was teaching some new brothers how to play pinochle and telling them about our games in Heidelberg. Lilburn was always teaching
Posted by Suzanne Wenzlaff on 19th April 2017
Remembering a warm, generous, friendly soul. We miss you, Lou and Suzanne
Posted by Jeanne Butler on 19th April 2017
Remembering many birthday celebrations we spent with Lilburn and Rosemary. Miss those times! Jeanne
Posted by Marilyn Brown on 19th April 2017
Thinking of my big brother on his birthday today. You are gone but not forgotten. I remember all the good times that we had together. Rest in Peace.
Posted by David Murphy on 3rd November 2016
The Cubs are World Champions! I appreciate Lilburn being such a loyal fan. I miss you!
Posted by David Whitfield on 29th July 2016
Lilburn, I have not and will not forget you. My memories of you remain.
Posted by Jeanne Butler on 28th July 2016
Lilburn is in our thoughts today with lovely memories of all the great times we shared with him and with Rosemary over the years. He is remembered and loved.
Posted by David Whitfield on 20th April 2016
Rosemary, Alyce, and family, from deep inside me, I have such fond memories of talking with Lilburn, interacting with you, him, and others when you all lived in Eppelheim. Those were times I will never forget. I send my love to all of you.
Posted by Sandy Baker on 19th April 2016
Facebook reminded me that today is Lilburn's birthday. I will be thinking about him and the family today. Thoughts and prayers for all of you.
Posted by Keith Johnson on 19th April 2016
Happy Birthday Lilburn!!! You are missed very much!!!
Posted by Monica Hinson on 19th April 2016
I didn't get to know you long enough dear Lilburn. I could never forget your sweet and welcoming nature, how you made me feel like an old friend right from the start.
Posted by Gretchen Janssen on 30th July 2015
I only knew Lilburn a short time during my time with OU in Germany but he was a gracious host in his home and a lot fun. I remember laughing a lot in his presence. My thoughts are with Rosemary and your family as you remember his life and love one year after his passing.
Posted by Jeanne Butler on 29th July 2015
Anyone who met Lilburn will never forget him. I had the opportunity to spend lots of time with Rosemary and Lilburn for 30+years in Europe, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. He will always be a part of my life and memories.
Posted by Catie Moerbe on 10th June 2015
Throughout our journey in life we run into a select number of people who play an important role in helping us become a better person than we were before we met them. They motivate us to seek more knowledge and never settle for what one individual has to say regardless of their credentials. As a third year Doctorate of Physical Therapy Student I can honestly say that both Lilburn and Rosemary played this vary role in my life. While I was an undergraduate student I was blessed with the opportunity of helping Lilburn with his physical therapy exercises at home. When I first started I had naively thought that I was there to help Lilburn, but as time goes on I have realized that it was actually the other way around. Lilburn taught me more than I can explain with a few words. His beaming smile and personality was always there to greet me when I arrived, we always had an intellectual conversation about something he wanted me to see the “bigger picture” on, and he never forgot to ask me about my horse. As his condition progressed he retained his upbeat personality and love for knowledge. Now that I am in school there is not a week that has gone by that I have not reflected on my time spent with Lilburn. I was fortunate to be welcomed into this household so that I could see the importance in continuing to seek knowledge and to never just settle for what somebody else thinks. I was able to witness the role that somebody such as myself could play through providing motivation to continue working on strength and endurance. Lilburn and I became very good friends through my time spent with him and he is missed dearly. With tears in my eyes I know that Lilburn is looking down thinking that I finally grasped the bigger picture, and he is glad that I am able to utilize the knowledge that I gained through my time with him to help others. Thank you both Lilburn and Rosemary for the impact that you have had on my life. You will never be forgotten. Love, Catie Lohmeyer-Moerbe
Posted by Clint Miner on 21st April 2015
Lilburn, I miss your smile, your laugh, and your good heart. I hope that you are enjoying a never ending game of Spades or Pinochle... bid zero, I have you covered :-) clint
Posted by Rebecca Knowles on 19th April 2015
Ugh! This is difficult. Happy Birthday! I have been putting off writing something only because I'm not sure what to say. I had even forwarded the link again to my email a week ago just to prompt me to write something. Yep, I'm typing this as the tears are running down my face. Life sucks sometimes. After the huge gap in our lives, being separated, we meet again. A small window of time… before you were taken away....without a chance to truly know my beautiful children. Yep, life sucks. I am grateful to have been there during your last days. That was difficult watching you & not being able to alleviate the pain & sadness. I owe you & mama so much. You both have given me many opportunities to meet wonderful people & see beautiful places. Your guidance & support have helped shape the person that I am. At times, allowing me the leeway to figure out my own mistakes...if I was unsuccessful, you both were there to bail me out. It was a strong, loving and trusting relationship. What I have learned from both of you, I have been teaching my children. Thank you. I miss you. I love you.
Posted by Natsue Hirakawa on 19th April 2015
Happy birthday Lilburn... We'll be thinking of you on your special day to celebrate your life your life and how you touched all of ours. You will always be remembered as being full of energy, wit, and having that zest for life. When I close my eyes, I can only remember your big smile and huge heart. Thank you for leaving beautiful footprints in our hearts!
Posted by Belinda Biscoe on 19th April 2015
Lilburn, I will always remember you for your gentle spirit and kind heart. However, what stands out most about you for me was your love and deep commitment to Rosemary. You were her strongest advocate and supporter. Rest in peace knowing that you made a difference in the lives of many people who loved you deeply.
Posted by Mary Sifuentes on 17th April 2015
It was such a pleasure caring for Lilburn in the year I was with him. He was such a fun man with a great sense of humor and I remember many times going out to eat and all the laughs that Lilburn, Rosemary and I had. I've told many people about the adventure of the move to VA, especially the noise of the get away salt shaker rolling around the RV making us think the RV was going to break down. We were so scared until we found out what it was. Rosemary and I laughed til we cried over that one. I will always cherish the memories and feel so fortunate to have known Lilburn and to know Rosemary.
Posted by Andrew Cooper on 23rd March 2015
My thoughts and prayers have been with you all since learning of Lilburn's passing. Evidently my previous tribute did not go thru. I have wonderful memories of my early years with Lilburn as a great friend. It is my hope and prayers that God will allow his spirit to always be bright in all of our lives.
Posted by Mark Schnabel on 15th October 2014
I may be late with my story, but I really believe he never left my heart. Lilburn was a gentleman. The way he talked, the way he presented himself and most importantly the way he paid close attention when others were talking, and his lifelong love for the Cubs said a lot about the man. My best man and 35 year friend Bob was forever talking about Lilburn, even though they only had ~ 1 week being together….Lilburn had that effect on people. I have is photo next to my work area here in Afghanistan. A soldier who knew Alyce and I did foster care looked at the photo asked if he was one of our foster kids. I said no, he was more than that to us. Our son Dawson, who at 6 years old took everything in stride with Lilburn’s passing. A couple of days after Lilburn left us, Dawson said, “Grandpa has been in Heaven a couple of days now, I wonder if he knows if God is a boy or a girl” Dawson pondered a few moments and said, “ I think God is a boy’s name”. Lilburn, the apple did not fall far from the tree. Miss you Mark
Posted by Beth Bienvenu on 15th September 2014
My memories of Lilburn are limited, since I didn’t spend much time with him in Germany and only saw him a few times in OK, TX, and VA, but I remember enjoying his company when I stayed with you in Norman. I enjoyed going out to eat BBQ on one of those visits, as well as having both of you at my graduation dinner, and I remember how moved I was when he knew my name when I came to visit for the first time in Virginia. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know him better, and that I didn’t spend more time with him over this past year. But the stories on the memorial page show me the wonderful life you had together. I know your lives will be emptier without him, but you have such wonderful memories to keep and to share with others.
Posted by Melvyn Williams on 21st August 2014
I met Lilburn when I was a 7th grade student at Nichols Jr. High School in Evanston. His brothers David and Billy were also students there. At this point they were living in South Evanston on Custer Street. All of the Dawson's were very good athlete's with Lilburn setting the pace. The family would eventually move on Pitner Ave Directly behind Evanston High School There Lilburn would become a star on the schools basketball team. He was always a leader, there for his family and their friends.. I personally spent so much time at the Dawson residence as David was my best friend, that it became my home away from home.
Posted by Robert Knuti on 20th August 2014
My condolences to Rosemary and the Dawson family. I can understand how the past months were difficult for all of you as my brother John also suffered from Lewy bodies disease. John was George's age, I am David's age and my brother David is Lilburn's age. We all went to Central School in Evanston when the Dawsons lived on Custer and we lived on Monroe street. I remember Lilburn as the big kid who treated his younger brothers and me right, balancing nicely direction and protection. A playground is a good place to judge character and I saw Lilburn as the ideal oldest brother. Later when he was a basketball star in high school, I would cheer him for his skill, but perhaps more for being the guy who had made me feel good on the grade school playground. Bob Knuti
Posted by Michael D on 19th August 2014
I don't know Mr. Dawson but we share the same surname. My deepest sympathy to the family. As much as we suffer through it, there is hope, John 5:28, 29. That is the only comfort I have after recently losing my nephew at a very tender age. I can only hope that it comforts you too. God does yearn to bring back those in his memory. Mr. Dawson is in his memory.
Posted by Ronda Mills on 16th August 2014
"Soar Like An Eagle!" Mr.Dawson was an amazing resident who will forever be remembered to all the "Crockett" staff at Air Force Village. Delightful man who though had challenges that made ADL's difficult as long as he knew Rosemary was by his side he was content. Peace Be with you all as you hold dear to you hearts the his life. Sincerely, Ronda Mills LVN
Posted by Carolyn May on 15th August 2014
I met the Dawsons in 1984 when we moved to Germany. I felt an instant connection to them and thankfully it was mutual. We took some amazing trips and I'll never forget Lilburn filming everything! He always had an interesting story to tell and I truly felt like they were family. Words cannot tell how much they have meant to me. I'll miss him. Rest in peace Lilburn.
Posted by David Whitfield on 11th August 2014
I remember the first time I met Lilburn and Rosemary in Eppelheim, the early 80s. Boston University was booming then. And it’s been many moons since we’ve seen us. I would love to do a rewind and replay our conversations as we enjoyed German beer and shared munchies. Things I remember specifically about Lilburn: his easy-going demeanor; he had a peacemaker air about him. He seemingly did it with gusto. He and I would have a conversation in a room full of people and practice a little code-shifting; or Lilburn and I, in the same room would listen to a conversation, look at each other, and we knew either, “Yep, we get it,” or, “Nope, that’s not the way we see that.” I have missed that type interaction and always will. And I haven’t had that type of conversation since. I would love to turn back the clock and have some more code-shifting conversations—with Lilburn.
Posted by Clint Miner on 11th August 2014
I have been struggling for over a week about what to write…how to convey my sense of loss as well as my profound thank you for Lilburn’s friendship. Lilburn’s big heart, gregarious smile, heartwarming laugh enriched my life beyond words. When I think about it… life is not defined by my work but by the friendships and people I have loved. I don’t remember what I did on any specific day at work; however, I remember, vividly, playing cards with Lilburn in Heidelberg, talking about the direction of education In the military and his good nature smack talking….I remember the walks we took together, or enjoying a good dinner; I treasure the memories of staying with Ro and Lilburn and sitting around the living room solving the world’s problems…..I remember how he touched my life and will always remember. I am sorry for my loss….however I am happy that Lilburn is now at rest and relish the private moments to celebrate his life in my mind and heart. Clint
Posted by Ellen Balkenbush on 4th August 2014
Though I never had the pleasure of meeting this fine man, I know in my heart that he was "one of the great ones". Rosemary and Alyce, take comfort in the friends and family that surround you with love.
Posted by Cora M-g on 3rd August 2014
My sincere condolences to Rosemary and the Dawson family - I'll always remember Lilburn as being the BIG man- Not just in statute, but in generosity. Truely, the gentleman with the big heart. Lilburn, it was a pleasure to know you as a colleague and a friend. So represent the Wang techs. now as you journey high- And leave a space we'll be along to join you by and by....... Cora Mooney-Graves (I met Lilburn at Wang Labs. Frankfurt, Germany- I now live in Florida)
Posted by Edward M Riley on 2nd August 2014
"Bub" I remember (when we hardly knew one another) in Germany wo hen we both won athlete of the year in our respective sports..........(USAF) and later became good friends in Los Angeles,the pleasure of meeting the bright and beautiful Rosemary (which you spoke of while in Germany) to many years passed without much contact and yet I too feel this sense of loss............Love and remembrances to the Dawson's, Schnabel's and extended families for your loss..........When you get to the "gates" the "Mole" will be there with the dominos............LOL.Ed
Posted by Delores Holmes on 1st August 2014
My condolences to the Dawson family. Lilburn and I were ETHS classmates. My love and prayers are with each of you. I wish you God's Blessings.
Posted by David And Jennifer Dawson on 31st July 2014
Hey Bub,see you on other side.I am glad i spent some time with Ro.Alyce and the children. I know you were proud of all on then. You fought the good fight and now it`s time to let go and let God
Posted by Keith Johnson on 31st July 2014
I met Lilburn during my military and civilian time in Heidelberg Germany. He was a great man, friend and teammmate!!!! He will be missed!!!! To you Lilburn, OICU812!!!! :) :) RIP!!!!
Posted by Alexis Gault on 31st July 2014
I feel much sadness for your loss, but also much awe that you had such a lovely husband and father in your life. I have not had either, myself, and it always inspires me to be reminded of the strength, kindness and beauty that a good man can be. May you take comfort in the memories of all you've had, I am so sorry for the great loss you must feel.
Posted by Steve Canipe on 31st July 2014
Rosemary, it has been said that the true measure of a man are the memories he leaves behind. As I read through the tributes of those who knew your husband, I know that he was a wonderful man. I am sorry for your loss.
Posted by Rick Miller on 31st July 2014
I will always cherish the memories of so many adventures together – sailing the French canals (romping in the leaves near Verdun, shoving the boat off sand banks, Paris, breaking ice), holidays in Heidelberg, “pony express” stops in Norman, Alyce’s wedding, dinners-both in and out, birthday and anniversary celebrations, Thanksgivings, Christmas, Easter, good times in Mallorca, Good bye, “Wilbur” – you will be missed. Love, Rick
Posted by Henry Herkert on 31st July 2014
He was one of the nicest people i ever met. We bowled with and against each other and had many good thoughts about life and music. we sat together at HV Heidelberg in the evening of 9-11 and he already showed the future in a few words...........i´ll miss him but i believe that he is doing good wherever he is. R.I.P old friend - Henry
Posted by Jacque Brown on 31st July 2014
Now he'll get that foursome together. Deal!
Posted by Arna Munford on 31st July 2014
Rosemary, Alyce, and family, We are sad about Lilburn's passing, yet happy for many fond memories of events that we shared even after your move from L A. Lilburn's smiles, laughter, and charisma connected people everywhere. His beautiful spirit and yours continue to inspire. May knowing that warm thoughts for you abound help to comfort you.
Posted by Jerome St Clair on 31st July 2014
Lilburn was my longtime friend, and Like a brother. He was there for me always when I needed him the most . We lived together, and played together, and prayed together all of the time.
Posted by Jerome St Clair on 31st July 2014
Pat Dawson, Lilburn Dawson junior, David Dawson, and my family of Terrys, Aikens, Seawrights, Hacketts,& Coles, were if not family, we were more than friends, we were like family.
Posted by Belinda Biscoe on 31st July 2014
Rosemary, Alyce, Mark, Sydney, and Dawson, My thoughts are with you in this your hour of need. Lilburn was one of the most compassionate men I knew. Before Rosemary and Lilbun moved to Texas, Rosemary and I worked hand and glove at OU on exhausting and complex projects. During one such grant proposal, I spent three nights at their home because fatigue kept me from driving to Oklahoma City from Norman. The morning of my last night I woke up in the morning to find Lilburn outside quietly cleaning my very dirty car. I was in shock, but very appreciative. Over the years as I had the opportunity to spend more time with Rosemary and Lilburn it was clear to me that he loved and adored her with all of his heart and as her friend and colleague this kindness was extended to me. He will always be remembered by me as the man with a heart of gold who loved his family more than life itself. I will truly miss him.
Posted by Howard Tobar Mayo on 31st July 2014
We were know as the 2 top road dogs. I think of you three all the time. One of the best pinochle players ever. Take care of yourselves my mom and sisters say hell.
Posted by Milton Lyles on 30th July 2014
I am a younger Evanstonian than most of the Dawson's, but my cousin Sam Burton used to run with David Dawson, Lilburn's younger brother. I think I might have seen him once or twice at the "Free&Easy" club back in the day!
Posted by Bob Gerber on 30th July 2014
Dear Rosemary, Alyce, Mark, Dawson and Sydney, Please accept Louise and my sincere condolences on your loss. Our regret is that we did not have the pleasure of his company over the years. By all accounts by those who knew him "Bud" was an accomplished professional,a loyal and revered son, brother and true friend to many. During his all to brief years he was a loving husband, father, and grandfather....a true inspiration. Louise and I are confident his memory will live on in your heart forever. With love always, Bob and Louise Gerber
Posted by Jeanne Butler on 30th July 2014
I met Lilburn in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1978 when Rosemary and I began teaching for USC in Europe. Over the last 36 years we have shared many experiences and the memories are an important part of my life. I will miss my dear friend, Lilburn, a unique individual.

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