Saturday, November 24, 2012


This is a corrected version of the obituary of Eugene Dobson, Sr., originally written by his son, Eugene Dobson, Jr., and me, his granddaughter. An earlier version appeared in several newspapers (Dumas Clarion, McGehee-Dermott Times News, Pine Bluff Commercial, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Tuscaloosa (AL) News). 

Eugene Dobson was born August 24, 1904, at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, the youngest of five children of David Erastus Dobson and Minnie Laura Wood Dobson, originally of Mauckport, Indiana. He grew up in and around Arkansas Post and Watson, AR. As a young man, he ran his father's general merchandise store in Watson. He briefly attended business school in New Orleans with his brother Harry about 1924. On Nov. 20, 1925, he married Lois Elizabeth Peacock in her parent's home in Tillar. During the 1927 flood of the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers, they lived five weeks in a pitched tent on the rooftop of his father's store.

Gene Dobson worked, among other occupations, as a beekeeper, mechanic, prison warden, and as an ice delivery man until electricity came to Watson in the 1940s. He also played the C melody saxophone. He moved with his wife and their son, Gene, Jr., to Pine Bluff, AR, in 1950 and became a master machinist.

After the death of his wife in 1972, he moved back to Watson, and the house he had built of cypress decades earlier. He served a term as mayor, traveled the American southwest, and wrote articles for the Desha County Arkansas Historical Society. In the mid 1980s, he worked almost single-handedly to get the church bell restored to the Watson Methodist Church. He hunted and fished as often as he could with his good friend Bobby Willis and was well known for his excellent cooking. Gene Dobson lived an active and independent life until his death.

He died Saturday, May 6, 2000, at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is survived by his son, Eugene Dobson, Jr., of Tuscaloosa, and his grandchildren, Rachel Dobson and William Tucker Dobson of Tuscaloosa, and David Eugene Dobson of San Francisco, California. He was buried May 11 in a graveside service at the Tillar Cemetery, Tillar, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to Hospice of West Alabama, 1800 McFarland Boulevard North, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406.

1 comment:

Delta Willis said...

Mr. Gene Dobson was an excellent story teller, fact-based, contributing many articles to the Desha County historical society. On a few visits home to Watson, Arkansas, I was welcomed at Dodson's home along with my Cocker spaniel, Jasper. Dobson kept two frosted mugs in his freezer, poured beer, then he and my Dad told stories of early Watson, the characters and crooks, the river, and shared a great appreciation and fondness for their friendship.