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Dallas resident who learned how to read at age 98 dies at 103

SHARE Dallas resident who learned how to read at age 98 dies at 103

George Dawson, who championed literacy by learning to read at age 98, died Thursday night, his family said. He was 103.

Mr. Dawson, a lifelong Dallas resident and the grandson of a slave, died at 6:28 p.m. at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, his son George Dawson Jr. said.

"He was a beautiful father. He was really a family man," George Dawson Jr. said. "He got us all through school and did everything he could do."

Mr. Dawson, who is survived by three daughters and two sons, did more than put them through school. Learning to read in a Dallas school district adult-education program, Dawson was an inspiration to students of all ages.

He appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," was in "People" magazine and last year collaborated with a Washington state school teacher to write a book about his remarkable life called "Life Is So Good."

A new Carroll school district middle school in Southlake northwest of Dallas will be named after him.

Southlake student Robs Lawrence heard Mr. Dawson speak two years ago at Carroll Intermediate School in Southlake, and he was so impressed that he turned to his father, a member of the school board. Subsequently, on a 4-3 vote, the board agreed to name its new school, scheduled to open in fall 2002, George Dawson Middle School.

"I'm surprised they'd name a school after me," Mr. Dawson said in a Star-Telegram interview in March. "You know, with me being a colored man and all. But it's real nice, real nice."

Mr. Dawson was hospitalized April 16. His son said he suffered a light stroke after falling in his bathroom.

George Dawson Jr. said his father, a member of Mount Calvary Church of God in Christ, especially sought literacy so that he could read the Bible.

"He was a wonderful person and never forgot his church," Dawson said.