Nelder Dawson

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Arthur Nelder Dawson, Jr.​

(Louisiana newspaper executive)

Born December 18, 1928​
Alexandria, Louisiana, USA
Died November 18, 2006 (aged 77)​
Alexandria, Louisiana

Resting place:
Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana​​

Spouse Billie Maxwell Dawson

Two daughters:
Stacey D. Blum
Catherine D. Gitter​

Religion Episcopalian

Arthur Nelder Dawson Jr. (December 18, 1928 – November 18, 2006), was a newspaper executive and civic leader in his native Alexandria, Louisiana, during the second half of the twentieth century. He was a 50-year career employee[1] of the Alexandria Town Talk, having worked in circulation, advertising, and human resources management. He started with the company as a newspaper carrier and advanced up the ranks.


Dawson was the son of Arthur Nelder Dawson, Sr. (1881–1962), and the former Mary Monk (1905–1993). He graduated in 1945 from Bolton High School]] in Alexandria. Thereafter, he obtained his bachelor's degree from the Southern Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville across the Red River from Alexandria. He was president of the Louisiana College student body during his time there. He actually began working for The Town Talk when was twelve years of age.[2]

A board member of the Southern Classified Managers Association and a past president and life member of the Newspaper Personnel Managers Association, Dawson was recognized in 1991 by the Louisiana Press Association with inclusion in the group's "50-Year Club." His later newspaper duties including the recruitment of reporters and photographers, most being recent college graduates who were seeking a start in journalism in the small-to-medium-sized market that Alexandria offers.[2] In that capacity, he often worked with the newspaper's veteran managing editor and later executive editor Adras LaBorde and business editor Cecil Williams. During much of Dawson's tenure, the newspaper was owned by the family of Joe Dorsey, Smith, Jr. (1922-2008), and his first wife, Jane Wilson Smith (1922-1992). Like Dawson, Smith completed a half century with the paper, formerly owned by Mrs. Smith's father. When Smith retired in 1996, the newspaper was purchased by a firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, which subsequently sold to Gannett Corporation in Virginia. The Town Talk is the largest circulating newspaper in central Louisiana,[3] ​but it is largely an Internet publication, with hard copies coming off the press only on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

As a college student still affiliated with The Town Talk, Dawson enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard, from which he attained the rank of captain. In his later years, he became an avid deep-sea fisherman in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the Amazon River.[2]

Dawson was predeceased by his wife, the former Billie Maxwell (July 3, 1935 – April 1, 2000), a school teacher and counselor, originally from Jonesboro in Jackson Parish. She died of cancer six years before her husband expired.[4] Dawson was a vestryman of St. James Episcopal Church and a veteran member and past president of the Alexandria Optimist Club. He also served as president of the board of directors of the Alexandria/Pineville Young Men's Christian Association and was active in the United Way, an organization promoted by The Town Talk.[2]

Dawson died in Rapides Regional Medical Center of complications from a fall and heart disease. Services were held on November 26, 2006, in St. James Church, with the Reverend Fred H. Tinsley, Jr., officiating. The Dawsons are interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.[5] Survivors included daughters Stacey Blum (born 1962) and husband Alfred M. Blum (born 1960) of Oakland, California, and Catherine Gitter (born 1969) and husband Douglas K. "Doug" Gitter (born 1965) of Jacksonville, Florida, formerly of New Orleans, and his five grandchildren, Max, Ashley, and Polly Blum and Chase, and Annie Gitter.[2]


  1. Louisiana Press Association 50 Year Club (1991). Louisiana Press Association. Retrieved on April 14, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Dawson obituary, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, November 25, 2006.
  3. Central Newspapers to acquire Alexandria Daily Town Talk – Louisiana | Business Wire | Find Articles at
  4. Miscellaneous Jackson Parish, LA, Obituaries.
  5. Hixson Brothers Funeral Home, Alexandria, LA, information sheet