Ennis G. Dawson, the owner of Dawson’s Cleaners, died on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 at home. He was 81.
He was born on Nov. 26, 1937 in Bivins, Texas. He was the middle child of the late Hiram and Zephyr Dawson.
The Dawson family moved to Philadelphia in 1946. Shortly after relocating, they joined Williams Chapel Baptist Church, presently known as Metropolitan Baptist Church. He was active in Sunday school and was baptized in 1954.
Dawson was educated in Philadelphia public schools, attending Martha Washington Elementary, Sulzberger Jr. High and Bok Vocational-Technical High School from which he graduated in 1955 as a tailor.
Following graduation he began his career at Sears Northeast Philadelphia. He was employed as the store’s first African-American tailor, then a salesman, in the men’s department. He later became the first African American manager of that department. In the late 1960s, he managed women’s wear at Sears Upper Darby.
In 1973, he left Sears and opened Dawson’s Cleaners at 5718 Lansdowne Ave., offering professional dry cleaning and alterations. In the mid-1980s, he opened a second store at 6001 Lansdowne Ave. Dawson was an expert tailor, admired in the community. He was in business 42 years, retiring August 2015
He married Marlene Brister on Aug. 10, 1957 and one daughter was born to their union.
In 1957, he joined John Wesley United Methodist Church, presently known as Wharton Wesley United Methodist Church. In October 2003, he and his wife joined Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Ardmore.
Dawson was an avid fan of National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing. In his younger days he enjoyed racing cars, winning many trophies. As a spectator, he traveled all over the country to the major racing events, becoming acquainted with the professional drivers and their teams.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Hiram Dawson Jr.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by: his daughter, Crystal Blanco; sister, Saundra Brown; sisters-in-law, Joan Dawson and Lorraine Brister; brother-in-law, Edward Brown; son-in-law, Julio Blanco; grandchildren, Santino (Jennifer), Tara and Giselle Blanco; great-granddaughter, Penelope Blanco; nephew, Hiram Dawson III; nieces, Regina Brister-Shaw, Sharon Stokes (Marc), Candace Brown, Sharon Brister and Kirstin Brown; nephew, Charles Brister; great-nephew, Hanif Muhammad; great-nieces, Tiffany Boone and Bianca Dawson and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 127 Walnut Ave., Ardmore.
Helen E. Waite Funeral Service handled the arrangements.