Carl J. Dawes, age 88, of Orchard Lake. March 7, 2010. Beloved husband of Gene; dear father of Gary (Barbara), Doug (Terri), Danny (Patti), Debbie (Rick) Maxwell, Cathy (Ron) Kovacs and Bill (Pam) Sturgeon; proud grandfather nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A WWII Army veteran and retired sales manager for Dawes Paint, Carl was a 60 year Mason and member of the Fraternal Order of Police. His loves of antique and classic cars lead to his membership in several car clubs. Funeral Service 11am Friday March 12 at Nardin United Methodist Church, 29887 Eleven Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48336. The family will welcome friends...
Carl J. Dawes, age 88, of Orchard Lake. March 7, 2010. Beloved husband of Gene; dear father of Gary (Barbara), Doug (Terri), Danny (Patti), Debbie (Rick) Maxwell, Cathy (Ron) Kovacs and Bill (Pam) Sturgeon; proud grandfather nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A WWII Army veteran and retired sales manager for Dawes Paint, Carl was a 60 year Mason and member of the Fraternal Order of Police. His loves of antique and classic cars lead to his membership in several car clubs. Funeral Service 11am Friday March 12 at Nardin United Methodist Church, 29887 Eleven Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48336. The family will welcome friends Thursday 2 – 8pm and Friday 9 – 9:45 am at Pixley Funeral Home Godhardt-Tomlinson Chapel, Keego Harbor, 248-682-0200. Masonic Service under the auspices of Walled Lake Lodge #528 F&AM, Thursday, 7 pm. Funeral Procession 10 am Friday (classic cars weather permitting) from Pixley Funeral Home Godhardt-Tomlinson Chapel to Nardin Park United Methodist Church. Post service reception immediately following, Nardin Park United Methodist Church. Funeral luncheon 2:30 pm at Gino's Resturaunt Keego Harbor. Memorials suggested to National Kidney Foundation or Nardin United Methodist Church.
Carl J. Dawes – A Short Story of a Life that will Live on Forever
Where do you begin to tell the story of the life of such a man? A man who was raised by a single Mom from about the age of 6, lived through the Great Depression, served his country during WWII, Loved his family and friends and drove his antique cars until he was nearly 88 years young. I guess the only place to start is from the beginning.
Born Joseph Carl Dawes, 12Nov1921 he would later be known as Carl Joseph Dawes and his name officially changed to reflect that. Living in Detroit as a youngster, his father left him, his older brother Chuck and his Mother Bessie when he was about 6. When neither single moms nor women in the workforce were an "acceptable" occurrence by standards of the time, his strong mother created a safe, loving and disciplined environment. She would work various jobs including floor supervisor at Detrola Radio in Detroit and provided the family the strength, love and work ethic that would influence Carl throughout his life. I guess it is also this environment which made him the "Determined" (aka: Stubborn) survivor he was. He also learned to appreciate things that were in his care and treat them accordingly.
Carl always said his Mom was Loving, but strict and used to laugh about her "magical powers" when he would tell the story of how she would give him a chore of mopping the kitchen floor. He was to do this on his hands and knees, as it did a better job then the old string mop. She would come home and he would be in trouble for Not doing it on his knees. He could never figure out how she knew he had used the mop. Later in life she would tell him it was really very simple, she would look at the baseboards and could tell by the "splashing" on those. He sure wished he had known that back then.
His mother also ensured a well rounded life experience, and although some may find it hard to believe, Carl not only played trumpet, but violin as well. Can't you just see him with one of those stringed instruments sitting between his shoulder and cheek?
The family attended Preston United Methodist Church in Detroit. She ensured he not only attended church but that it become a permanent part of his life, which it did.
He worked various jobs after high school including Luther Brother's Mobil Gas Station as a mechanic. Interesting to note that in Nov of 2008 (at 87 years young) he was able to describe a gas car heater system they installed on cars. His memory to details was down to the hook-up assembly and where the gas fed from ("a plate between the manifold and the carb"). He would also get paid .25cents for each car he washed.
Timken axle and Ford were also on his list of jobs he had before the next chapter in his life.
When he was about 21 he went down to enlist in the Armed Forces to serve his country in WWII. Because of his eye-sight (almost blind in one eye) he was denied. Being "Determined" he tried the other 2 branches and was also denied. Remember the Air Force was not around (it was part of the Army called the Army Air Corp). After this he went back to work and his daily life.
Of course as fate would have it, that didn't last long and Uncle Sam came a-knockin'. The Army said, "Uncle Sam Wants YOU"! So he went in for his physical and was told he wouldn't be accepted due to his eyes. Well, he was accepted and off to basic training went he. Another Dr saw him and another proclamation, "You won't see any overseas action and will be stationed in the U.S.". Well, he was now in the Army and would spend about 7 months on U.S. soil. However, the story didn't end there. The Army, in their wisdom, decided that they needed him over in Europe (guess you didn't need two good eyes over there…must be the difference in climate), so off he went. He spent the next 2 ½ years in England, Belgium and Germany as a Corporal in the US Army before the end of the War was declared. I guess the Army can also be "determined".
Dad had many stories but like so many of the WWII vets, didn't talk about most of them for years. Later in life when prodded, he opened up with some, but the funny ones were what he liked to tell. I will share some of them here so you have a better understanding of the "young" Carl before he became the young/older Carl.
His first experience on British soil was stepping off the boat and hearing sirens. The Brits were all scrambling and the Americans were looking around not knowing what was happening until someone yelled, "Get over there and get your heads down!" They were used to the bombing but the Americans fresh off the boat had never experienced anything like it.
He started in the 29th Infantry and then moved over to the Signal Corp. Specifically, he was in the Signal Port Services Company which consisted of several special "pools" of troops. The Units numbered 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, and 816. Each of these Units were made up of 152 Men and 10-15 Officers across several specialty areas such as Telephone Installers, Telephone Repairers, Radio Installers, Radio Repairers, Radio Operators, Jeep Drivers, Motorcycle Drivers and Teletype Techs. Carl was in 811 then moved temporarily to 816 and then back to 811. There were a lot of changes and you had to be flexible in those circumstances.
He was in South Hampton where he oversaw the Civilian Line of South Hampton (3505) and also 2 Military code lines: one example was Thislewood.
In War, troop movements are highly classified as it puts the troops, the war and the country in severe danger. He was operating a radio switch board during the height of the war. He got a call from a General he put through to another number. As standard operating procedures (SOP) he had to listen in from time to time and make sure there were no discussions on troop movements. As he did this, he heard the General discussing troops and where they were headed. Carl warned the general on two occasions and told him he would have to cut him off if he continued. On the 3rd check the General was still talking troop movements and Corporal Dawes pulled the connection cutting him off. The General called back and was chewing him out. He explained he was only following orders and no troop movement talk was allowed. The General threatened to have him court-martialed. Carl's Captain ("A big Old Texan") overheard part of the discussion and told Carl to transfer the General to him. An argument followed…. In part… "I am a General and you can't tell me what to do"…" I am a Captain and the PORT SECURITY Officer and out rank you in matters of security"….. After a while the General ultimately talked again to Carl and apologized.
He was stubborn yes, but also loved to have fun. You might notice in some of the pictures of him in WWII and throughout his life that he was fun loving and had a great sense of humor.
An example of his practical joking side was when he worked with a 2nd Lt Florey and loved to have fun with the fact that the Lt's wife was 1st Lt Florey-a nurse. This meant his wife outranked him. The Lt often had Carl finish up sealing and sending off letters to his wife and one time Carl added a few lines to the letter to the nurse saying lets have some fun with your husband. The wife playfully went along and responded with some lines of her own to her husband in her next letter saying,"Carl's been telling me what you've been up to!" He then went frantically to Carl asking, "What have you been telling my wife?!" The husband couldn't believe the 2 of them were messing with him and they all got a laugh. I think the 2nd Lt was a little nervous of what Carl might say next time though.
Another story that that tied back to Carl not supposedly qualified to even be in the Army with his eyes, was when he had a sty removed from his left (only good eye) and had it covered with a patch. He was walking and passed a new 2nd Lt who got upset because the corporal didn't salute. When he tried to explain that his other eye was bad and his good eye was covered, the Lt said he wouldn't be allowed in the Army with only one good eye. No matter what was said the 2nd Lt wouldn't believe him.
A Similar situation which shows both his stubborn and humorous nature was also dealing with a young/new officer. The servicemen liked to call them "90 Day Wonders" because after 3 months of stateside training they are put in charge of troops who had more experience, been in battle, and seen action.
In this particular location there were so many of the 8th Airborne that the officers had become tired of saluting constantly and had told the troops not to salute them. This new
Lt was demanding respect for his new position and was expecting salutes. So naturally when these two men came together, Carl was in trouble for not saluting. He tried to explain the current practice of NOT saluting in this area, but the Lt just continued to tell him, "You WILL Salute ME." So what did the young Carl do?? Well he showed his multi-talents in both Humor and Stubbornness…er ah.. Determination and went off to get some of "the guys". They proceeded to walk past the Lt over and over and saluted him, which caused the Lt to return the salutes. After a bit of this he approached Carl and said, "Enough, I get the point-now back-off." Which Carl happily did.
Well after being through many fears and tears, and injecting some humor to keep life bearable, the War was declared over and the troops were waiting for orders to go home.
But, once again the story of his service doesn't end there… Although it nearly did. Since the war was over the troops were told not to carry side-arms. Thankfully, the "determined" corporal disobeyed that and was carrying a German pistol he had. It was night time, and he and a buddy were walking down the streets when a shot rang out and he heard it whiz by his ear. He and the buddy instinctively dropped to the ground (quite a change from when he first stepped off the boat) and out came the flashlights and his pistol, and he returned fire. They searched but never found the sniper. At least they were both safe and lived to return home.
Post-WWII YEARS 1940's-1970's
After being released with an Honorable Discharge officially on 21January1946, Carl was back on home soil. He loved his Mother and Brother and attended Preston United Methodist Church. He planned to return to Ford Motor and resume the job he left behind when he went off to war. His brother Chuck who had been "4F" (not accepted into Military Service) due to severe hearing problems had started his own business: Dawes Paint Company. Chuck asked Carl to give him a hand for a couple of weeks setting up a new location before he went back to work at Ford. Carl agreed. The 2 weeks stretched into Months and then years and this became Carl's new career. He managed the Dawes Paint Company store at 9064 Livernois in Detroit. It was just north of Joy Road and across from Charlie's Nash, which later became Charlie's Olds. Carl had a lot of great stories about Charlie's as well and grew to be close friends with both the top mechanic and the service manager at that dealership. So much so that when the service manager passed away his wife called and gave Carl his tools and tool chest which have tools from the 30s-60s - perfect for the old cars and is still in the family and in use today.
At Dawes Paint he handled inside sales to walk-in customers, ensured the orders that Chuck took on the road from auto dealers and repair shops were filled and delivered correctly, mixed paint (both stock and custom colors), repaired equipment and managed the store. Later on weekends and off-hours, he installed "anchor-pots" which helped body shops straighten frames of cars.
In April of 1947, he married Margaret Ingalls and in 1950 had Gary the 1st of their 4 Children. He started out displaying his love for his kids early. It was a lot of little things. On his way home from work on Friday, he would stop at the corner a few houses from home to pick up Gary who would be waiting for Daddy to drive him home. In 1952 along came 2nd son Doug and then thru 1957 a 3rd Son Danny and a Daughter Debbie would be added to the family.
We have so many things to recall and remember from the smallest things like building a homemade kite at the kitchen table, learning about cars, tools and the "fits-all wrench" to walking his "baby girl" down the aisle to the man of her dreams who Carl introduced her to. He was a Scout Leader, a Softball Coach, A Sunday School Teacher and was always involved in Church in many ways.
In the 1950's he also grew his love of cars and began attending the September, Greenfield Village Old Car Festival in Dearborn, Michigan with Gary and a Borrowed Car. By 1962 he acquired a 1923 Hupmobile from South Dakota which he and a friend did a 3-day "restoration" on (cleanup and paint). It went to the Old Car Festival with his wife and 4 kids (all of which were dressed in era clothing). It was the 1st of many times that old Hupp would attend that event and through the years many others…from Walden Woods in Howell, to Canton Ohio, to London (Canada), and Brighton tours…putting 60,000 miles on the original engine. He didn't believe in "Trailer Queens" because "Cars were meant to be driven and Enjoyed". He had many vehicles over the years but the most notable in the 1960's and 1970's were his Hupmobiles. His short list was: 1914 – 7 Passenger Touring, 1923 – 5 Passenger Touring, 1924 – 3 Door Sedan, 1931 – 4 Door Sedan. Each of these cars are still in the family. He maintained his cars always keeping them running for driving and enjoying.
He was a member of the Huron Valley Chapter of the VMCCA and a Lifetime Member of the Hupmobile Club. He held many positions in the VMCCA at the chapter and regional level peaking at Regional Director which he held multiple times. He won many honors and awards for his contributions and involvement.
He was an active Member of the Masonic Lodge (Kismet) in Livonia.
Throughout this era he was a gadget guy. From movie cameras, still cameras, tape recorders, transistor radios, and TOYS…. !!!
Carl married Gene Sturgeon 21March1981. Gene had two children Cathy and Bill from a prior marriage and she was also a collector of Old Cars both with her 1st husband, then on her own, and finally with Carl. The collections grew and changed over the years and included Buicks, Metropolitans, Nashes and Cadillacs to name a few. Of course they had to join clubs for each specific car while also maintaining the VMCCA involvement.
Carl was never just a "joiner". As he liked to say, "If you join you become active in the club". He held many, many positions over the years and even through these past couple of years produced the newsletters for the VMCCA and the Nash Clubs. He held positions in the Nash Car Club of America including Region, Central Division Director (1987-1989), the National Presidency 2 years (2000/2001) and is a Lifetime Member with his wife Gene.
Carl and Gene spent many days at Flea Markets and Swap Meets selling and buying Antique Car parts. He was always known as a horse trader, deal maker and loved to haggle. He also collected Jim Beam bottles among their many other collections.
He used the internet and email and produced his newsletters on his home computer. Being the consummate gadget guy already for years, when PDA's came into play he carried one regularly. Later when Cell phones became available he had a "bag phone" with 15 mins a month for emergency use that he carried in the car. As PDA and Cells merged into Smart-Phones he carried a Palm Treo. It was his Cell, Address/Phone book and Appointment Scheduler all in one. He had it with him at all times. Even when he was moved into the Rehab Center for the last few months, it was always by his side or in his pocket.
Again throughout this era, he (or with his wife) won many honors and awards, most recently from the Nash Car Club of America at the National Level for all they have done for the Club and the preservation of the Antique Hobby. He always tried to help push club activities and get folks involved. He and Gene set up many events themselves and constantly tried to get others to host other events to keep folks engaged in this fun hobby.
He played Auctioneer at the Annual Holiday Auction/Lunch that he and Gene organized at Gino's in Keego Harbor and was always trying to get the bids to go higher for the club treasury's benefit. They contributed many items for auction over the years.
Each year he and some of his offspring would attend the Motor Muster at Greenfield Village over Fathers Day Weekend in June, first with the 1948 Nash Ambassador and then added the 1962 Metropolitan. He saw many old friends year after year. He then started going there only on Saturday, and the family would all meet up on Sunday for Father's Day at the Detroit Yacht Club with the Antique Car and Boat show-and good food.
One of his long running traditions was the Bubbly Breakfast he had put on for the various clubs for some 40+ years serving 25 to nearly 50 people depending on the club. He and Gene would do the shopping (3 different stores), packing the van with the purchases & the cook stoves, cups, plates, etc. They would then drive to one of the members' homes and cook up Beer Battered Pancakes, Sausages, pour Asti, and have a great time. As of 2008 they were still doing this for the VMCCA and the Nash Car Club. They Retired from that "work of love" for the VMCCA that year and railroaded his son and daughter-in-law into taking it over for the Nash club, donating the stoves and such to his son to continue the tradition. Of course in May of 2009 he was still there to lend a hand and help ensure the quality was up to his standards.
For many years he has helped get volunteers to drive their cars in the Keego Harbor/Sylvan Lake/Orchard Lake Memorial Day Parade. He drove his 1962 Metropolitan in the parade in May2009.
He and his wife Gene attended every Gino's Pre-Dream cruise, and last year they were honored for their participation and have the trophy to prove it.
He was an active Member in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP Lodge #128) supporting police from the surrounding areas. He and Gene went to monthly meetings on Weds nights. He recruited one of his sons to become a member as well.
Masons meant a lot to Carl and while he was at the Renaissance Garden/Fox Run Rehab facility the last few months, the Masonic Lodge came and presented Carl with his 60 Year Service Lapel pin. He was most recently a member of the Findlater Lodge #475.
Weekly he had fun in a variety of ways. He drove his loving wife to her appointments and while Gene had her hair done Carl would stop by to see his buddy Constantine who owns the local print shop and they would "argue" over who would pay for donuts.
They loved to eat out and talk to people and went out to Early Bird Café for Brunch and Gino's in Keego Harbor for Dinner most nights. His other weekly activity included Lunch at Gino's with his wife and "Carl's Harem". They and a group of women would eat and then play cards each week.
He and Gene Attended Church and Sunday School at Nardin Park United Methodist regularly. They also help collect, sort and tag items during the Church's various rummage sales.
This past year, 2009, was a trip down memory lane for Carl. In September he was honored and flown to Washington, DC as part of the WWII Honor Flight. He was taken on a tour of the major veteran memorials and specifically to see the recent WWII Memorial long over due. He also attended a Fund-raiser in his honor and other WWII Vets like himself. He became a "Movie-Star" in the 1 hour TV Documentary, "Detroit – Our Greatest Generation" which aired twice in December, where he is the 4th picture in the opening tributes.
He often said growing old may not be for sissies. But when people asked how he and Gene kept going at their age, he simply replied, "We just don't sit down too long as we figure we may not get up again! So the trick is to keep moving." Well, we are glad he got up over and over again and was "determined" right through to the end. He hung on through pain, complications and more so he could spend time with his loving wife Gene and his family and friends. He kept a positive attitude and planned to be home and drive again right up to the last day. I bet if GOD is willing he is up there right now smiling from the front seat of some old Nash or Hupp, Driving the Golden Streets of Heaven.
Life after Life YEARS
Carl leaves behind many Loved ones, Family/Friends and many, many Memories for us all to remember, recall, revisit and share. He is in a safe and happy place with our Lord and we will all have a chance to see him again someday.
This biography could continue for many more volumes, but hopefully this will give all an insight into some new and interesting facts in the life of Carl, Dad, Pops, Snotop, Grandpa, Uncle, Honey, Sweetie, Hot-lips and Friend.