Jay Dawkins born July 7, 1942, in Tacoma, Washington, and died peacefully in his sleep in Roseburg, Oregon, on Sunday, December 22, 2013, after a courageous 10-month battle against esophageal cancer. He is survived by his wife, Connie, of 24 years; daughter, Holly Losli; son, Forrest Behm; grandchildren, Levi and Jesse Losli, and Jonah and Noah Behm; he is also survived by his mother, Madora Dawkins; sisters, Suzanne Lustie and Anita Dawkins; and brothers, Steve, Mark and Dan Dawkins. Jay, as he was known by friends and family, grew up in Eatonville, and graduated from Eatonville High School in Eatonville, Washington, in 1960.
He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Puget Sound, the alma mater of his now deceased father (Jesse, Sr.). Jay took a teaching job in the Los Angeles area, and later was accepted into Officer’s Candidate School for the Navy in Pensacola, Florida, which he successfully completed, being commissioned as an ensign. Jay became part of an elite group when he was trained as a Naval Aviator and qualified to fly the A7 Corsair, a carrier-based jet bomber.
During the Viet Nam conflict, he flew nearly 200 missions off the aircraft carriers “Enterprise” and “Constellation.” On one night mission, he was forced to eject over the Gulf of Tonkin, where he floated for hours in shark and poisonous sea snake-infested waters, before being rescued by helicopter. He described those as the longest prayer-filled hours of his entire life.
After his Navy years, Jay became a securities and commodities broker for DuPont. Following this, he pursued an entrepreneurial passion, buying, restoring and selling small civilian airplanes. He also owned a business and operated the fixed wing airfield in Richfield, Utah, while supplying major oil and mineral exploration companies’ efforts in the area. Over the past twenty years, Jay and his wife Connie have been general contractors, building homes in Roseburg.
Jay was a man of faith and loved the Lord. He adored his beautiful wife Connie and his kids Holly and Forrest, and his four grandchildren. Those closest to Jay knew how he found great joy in clowning around and telling funny stories. He had an endless supply of jokes and he loved to make people laugh.
Although we are saddened by Jay’s passing, we know he was ready to meet the Lord. Jay’s favorite Bible verse was: Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.” (Is. 6:8)
The military service for Jess will be at 3 p.m. Friday, January 24, 2013, at the new National Cemetery in Roseburg, Oregon.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 25, 2013, at Redeemers Fellowship church at 3031 W Harvard Avenue in Roseburg.