Mary 'Joan' Dawson


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BELLAIRE, Mich. – Mary "Joan" Dawson, age 73, of Bellaire passed away on Thursday (July 27, 2017) at her home.

Joan was born on Feb. 9, 1944, the daughter of the late John and Rosemary (Pendock) Dawson.

Joan graduated with a bachelor's degree from Columbia University before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She pursued a career as a research scientist at University College London before accepting a position as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-directing a laboratory with her husband.

She was passionate about her family and her research. Following her scientific and teaching career, she retired to her family's hometown of Bellaire, Mich., where she has been a full-time resident for the past two years.

She was a brilliant scientist who enjoyed spending time in nature, especially Grass River where she volunteered. Joan was always lending a helping hand to many people, and you would often find her listening to classical music.

Joan is survived by her children, Elise Lauterbur (Roger Ledgister) of Huntington, N.Y., Dan Lauterbur of Okemos, Mich., and Sharyn (Mike) DiGeronimo of Selden, N.Y.; siblings, Chet (Betty) Dawson of Haslett, Mich., Bob (Hannah) Dawson of Midland, Mich., Chris (Winnie) Dawson of Haslett, Mich., Kevin Dawson of Grand Prairie, Texas, Kathy (Bill) Linn of Bellaire, Diana (Steve) Tucker of Bellaire and Betty (Dennis) Kowalski of Bellaire, Mich.; grandchildren, Andrew Ferraiuolo of Houston, Ashley Batteen of Dewitt, Mich., Laura Ferraiuolo of Lansing, Mich., Paul Ferraiuolo of Shaftsburg, Mich., and Jacob Ferraiuolo of Lansing, Mich.; and nieces and nephews, Joe Kowalski, Tori Kowalski, Mary Linn, Steven Tucker, John Dawson, Emmanuel Hall, Elizabeth Barnes, Jade Dawson, Peter Dawson, Mary Dawson, Karen McKeever and Lisa Kulhanek.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Lauterbur, parents and brother, Jack Dawson.

A visitation and gathering of friends and family will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes with a memory-sharing time beginning at 5 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Planned Parenthood, Union of Concerned Scientists, Doctors without Borders or Grass River Natural Area.

Arrangements are being handled by the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Online guest book is at