Nominated by their daughter Meg, the application shared the immeasurable impact the two had in their 67+ years of serving the Town as members of over 15 boards, committees and agencies.
Settling in Ellington in 1955, it didn’t take long for Bob and Marge to get involved in their new community, where they raised their three children – Robb, Douglas, and Meg. In the narrative included with their nomination, it was shared that “they loved the rural character of the town, and both Bob and Marge were enthusiastic participants in civic affairs all their lives.”
Marge taught Sunday School at the Congregational Church and, in the 1960s, set up and staffed the first school libraries at Center School and what was then Longview Middle School. As Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hall Memorial Library, she spearheaded the large modern addition that is enjoyed by library patrons today, and she did so without exceeding the construction budget. She served as the Republican Registrar of Voters, acted as the Land Records Inspector, and was a member of the Jury Selection Committee and the Ellington Women’s Club.
In 1972, Bob served as Chairman of the Ellington High School Building Committee, the efforts of which resulted in the Town’s acquisition of the land that makes up Robert Tedford Memorial Park today. He was Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals prior to taking on the same role on the Design Review Board, where he serves as Chair to this day. An indication of his leadership, Bob also served as Chairman of the East of the River Tourism Commission for several years, was a member of the Greater Hartford Jaycees, and has been a member of the Fayette Mason Lodge #69 in Ellington for over fifty years. Bob’s firm, Russell & Dawson Architecture and Engineering, also worked on many projects for the Town.
Much of Bob and Marge’s service was done jointly, making it a true family affair. Both were members of the Ellington Historical Society and worked tirelessly on the renovation and repurposing of the McKnight House into the Nellie McKnight Museum. Bob also initiated the construction of the first gazebo on the Town Green, spending a Memorial Day Weekend shingling the roof himself. Marge was integral in planning annual holiday receptions at the McKnight House and in outfitting the Historical Society’s Fife and Drum Corps.
Both also served on the Ellington Bicentennial Commission, organizing celebrations in 1976 and 1986; Bob was Secretary of the Arbor Park Commission, as well.
“It is because of people like Bob and Marge and their commitment to the Town that we were afforded the opportunity to learn, experience, and grow in Ellington,” Meg shared in the application. The Dawsons had a hand (or four) in so much of what made Ellington the beautiful town it is today, and their impact cannot, and should never be, overlooked or forgotten.
“Even today, in his 90s, Bob never stops working; you can always rely on him,” First Selectman Spielman shared, “and growing up, I remember Marge being involved in so many things, helping so many people. You could always find them enjoying a quick bite at the Chuck Wagon or spending time around Town.”
A formal induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. at the site of the Wall of Honor, located in Arbor Park [off of Main Street]. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.