Former ALTA President Robert Dawson Passes Away

January 12, 2016

Robert Dawson, who served as ALTA's 1973-74 president, passed away Jan. 5 at the age of 92.

Dawson started his career in the title industry in March 1955 when he joined the Florida legal department of Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. In 1957, he moved to Winter Haven, Fla., to work in the company’s state office. He was named Florida state manager in 1963.

In 1968, Dawson was promoted to executive vice president of Lawyers Title and was elected to its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. In 1973, he was appointed president and CEO of Lawyer’s Title and went on to lead the company for 17 years. Beloved and admired by employees and agents nationwide, he brought the company through a time of tremendous change and growth in the title insurance industry. Shortly after his retirement, Lawyer’s Title was spun off by Universal Corp. to its shareholders as Lawyers Title Corp.

Charlie Foster, who was appointed CEO of Lawyers Title after the spin-off, worked with Dawson for many years. He called Dawson “one of the finest men I have known—a true gentleman, who set high standards in all he touched.

“It was a privilege to have worked for him—he set a steady course of leadership and knew how to do the right things the right way,” added Foster, who served as ALTA’s 1999-2000 president.

Roger Bell, ALTA’s 1978-79 president, was appointed to serve as chair of the association’s Abstracter’s Section. He didn’t have any direct contact with Dawson, but knew him from attending conventions and hearing him speak at meetings.

“He was certainly impressive from that perspective,” Bell added. “He was smart, a real gentleman.”

In addition to his involvement at ALTA, Dawson served one term as president of the Florida Land Title Association. Dawson served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was in the first class to graduate from the Naval Aerial Navigation School in 1945 in Clinton, Okla. While Dawson loved his family first, he had a passion for golf. According to his obituary, “those who knew him knew he was happiest on the course.”

Click here to read an article about Dawson that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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