Cover photo for Marlene Ann Dawson's Obituary
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1935 Marlene 2023

Marlene Ann Dawson

November 6, 1935 — October 28, 2023



Williamsburg-Marlene Ann Shannahan Dawson, 87, died October 28, 2023, at the Highland Ridge Care Center in Williamsburg with her family by her side at the age of 87 years.

 Marlene was born November 6, 1935, in Williamsburg, the daughter of John J. and Ethel Goodman Shannahan. She spent all of her childhood on the family’s York Township farm southeast of Williamsburg and graduated from Williamsburg High School in 1954.
    On November 10, 1956, she married Ken Dawson at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Holbrook. She worked at Farmers Trust and Savings Bank until she and Ken began their family. The couple lived south of Parnell until 2017 when they moved to the English Valley Care Center, and Marlene moved to Highland Ridge the following year.
   Marlene was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Parnell until it closed and then she and Ken joined St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Williamsburg. She took pride in hosting family gatherings, keeping her yard beautiful, and taking care of her pets—especially her cats. Over the years, she and Ken also cared for pet pigeons, ducks, swans, geese, chickens, sheep, llamas, miniature horses, guineas, and dogs. After raising their children, Ken and Marlene enjoyed going to church dinners, auctions, country music shows, and restaurants. At home, they ended most evenings by reading the newspapers and eating popcorn together.
      Marlene most enjoyed spending time with her family. She is survived by her children: Terry of Cedar Rapids; Tammy (Bruce) Bonnicksen of Rochester, Minnesota; Tim (Leigh Ann Wolfe-Dawson) of Estes Park, Colorado; Trisha (Dan) Gowin of Altoona; and Anna of Omaha, Nebraska; grandson Jeff (Nicholle Chadwick-Dawson) of Parnell; granddaughters Brooke Gowin of Overland Park, Kansas, and Paige Gowin of West Des Moines, Iowa; and grandson Thaddeus Bonnicksen of Rochester, Minnesota, along with her great grandson Andy Kueter-Chadwick of Oxford. She also is survived by her brother Emmett Shannahan of Williamsburg; sister Barb (Lowell) Schroeder of Maquoketa; and brothers-in-law Bernard Dawson of Keota, Patrick (Geneva) Dawson of Moscow Mills, Missouri, and Tom Dawson of Torrance, California; along with nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband in February 2020, parents, brothers Richard and Gary in infancy, sister-in-law Rita Shannahan, and brothers-in-law Gene Dawson and Leroy Dawson.

The family extends its gratitude to the nurses, staff, and therapists at Highland Ridge for their outstanding care and compassion for Marlene. She was cared for with great kindness by everyone there over the years. The Compass Memorial Healthcare and Essence of Life Hospice staffs also were wonderful to Marlene and her family this past month.

The funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, November 3, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Williamsburg with Father Francis Mensah officiating. Burial will be at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Holbrook. Visitation will be 4–7 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, at Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg where there will be a prayer service followed by a rosary at 4:00 pm.
Memorials may be directed to the Safe Haven of Iowa County, South Amana. Messages and tributes may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marlene Ann Dawson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, November 2, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Powell Funeral Home-Williamsburg

407 North Highland St., Williamsburg, IA 52361

Prayer Service and Rosary at 4:00 pm

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Friday, November 3, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Central time)

St. Mary Catholic Church - Williamsburg

102 E Penn St, Williamsburg, IA 52361

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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