Mr. James Franklin Dawkins, known throughout the community as "Coach
Dawkins", died Monday, June 24th, 2019 at Riverside Health and Rehab. He
Funeral services for Coach Dawkins will be held on Thursday, June 27th, 2019
at 2:00 PM at the Thomaston-Upson Civic Center with Rev. Bill Barber and Dr.
Glenn Gilstrap officiating. Burial will follow in South View Cemetery. The
family of Coach Dawkins will receive friends at the Civic Center on Thursday
from 1:00 pm until the funeral hour.
Coach Dawkins was born on May 17th, 1922 in Porterdale, the second of nine
children born to Franklin Thomas and Myrtle Mae Torbush Dawkins. His
parents moved their family to Thomaston when he was six years old, and he
attended East Thomaston Grammar School and graduated from R. E. Lee
Institute in 1940.
Coach Dawkins served in the U. S. Army from 1942 through 1946 and served in
the European Theater, France and England. During his military service he
played football for the Seine Comets, who played mostly in Europe in the mid
After his military service he returned to Thomaston, attended Gordon
Military College and Erskine College and met Betty Jean Jones on the Upson
County Courthouse square. They married in 1948.
In 1951 Coach Dawkins began working at R. E. Lee Grammar School as the PE
teacher. Approximately three years later he began after school activities
at Weaver Park for the City and County school systems in addition to
teaching during the day. In 1975 with the construction of the Civic Center,
he became the recreation director. He retired from the Recreation
Department in 1984.
Among his many accomplishments and awards, Coach Dawkins received the
Georgia Parks and Recreation Distinguished Service Award for 35 years of
service to Thomaston-Upson County. In 2005 he was inducted as a charter
member into the Thomaston Upson Sports Hall of Fame and in 2009 he received
the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award. He was honored in a 2011 tribute by
the Upson Lee High School Athletic Booster Club. In 2014 he was awarded the
Thomason-Upson Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2013 the newly renovated Recreation Youth Football Complex was named in
his honor. Coach Dawkins produced numerous sports teams of quality and
great discipline, including the Little League State Champions in 1972. He
was instrumental in starting the Junior Peach Football Bowl. Many of his
athletes went on to have outstanding high school and collegiate careers.
After retirement Coach Dawkins enjoyed golfing, caring for his property,
meeting with his coffee club to discuss "going ons" in Upson County,
traveling with Mrs. Dawkins, and attending Upson-Lee home football games
where he was the "keeper" of the press box.
Coach Dawkins was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and was also a
member of the American Legion and the VFW.
Coach Dawkins and his wife were the proud parents of a son, James Franklin
"Jim" Dawkins, Jr., born on December 30, 1959. Jim was a member of Coach
Dawkins' 1972 Thomaston Little League All-Star team that won the state
championship and advanced to the southeastern playoffs in Florida. Jim died
of leukemia in 1979.
Coach Dawkins is survived by his wife, Betty Jean Jones Dawkins; two
sisters, Frances D. Deal of Atlanta and Fairy D. Jackson of Hiawassee; a
brother, Leonard Dawkins of Atlanta; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Thomaston-Upson
Recreation Youth Programs, P. O. Box 470, Thomaston, GA 30286.
Fletcher-Day Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences and
remembrances may be expressed at www.fletcherdayfuneralhome.com