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Robert E. Dawson, recycling firm general manager; April 1, 1940 -- July 27, 2011

Robert E. Dawson, of Williamsville, general manager of a recycling facility and a standout athlete in his youth, died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 71.

Born in Buffalo, he grew up in Depew, attended St. James Elementary School and graduated from St. Mary's High School in Lancaster in 1958. He earned a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1962 and a master's degree from Canisius College in 1970.

He taught commercial business, coached junior varsity basketball and football, and officiated at Alden Central High School from 1962 to 1966, then worked at Ford Motor Co. and Carborundum Co.

In 1983, Mr. Dawson was instrumental in helping to start Western New York Beverage Industry Collection and Sorting (B.I.C.S.), which recycles beverage containers, and was general manager for 19 years.

In high school, he was a two-time All-Catholic athlete, excelling in football, basketball and baseball. He set the single-game football rushing record of 210 yards at St. Mary's, which stood for 25 years.

He was a former president of Lancaster Country Club and was active for many years with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, serving as chairman of the Race Against MS for four years.

Mr. Dawson was a Golden Blade committee member of the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped. He also was a board member of the St. Mary's High School Foundation and took part in the New York State Recycling Forum.

His wife of 45 years, Patricia A. Honeck Dawson, a Lancaster teacher, died in 2010.

Surviving are two daughters, Natalie Geczik and Nicole Klammer, and three sisters, Margaret Benz, Sheila Coughlin and Eileen.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.