John Alexander Dewar 1922 - 2010
Paid family tribute
San Angelo, Texas — John Alexander Dewar, 87, died from complications of pneumonia Tuesday, Feb.2, at Legend Oaks Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in San Angelo, TX.
Dewar was born October 30, 1922, in a tenement in Glasgow, Scotland. He immigrated to the United States with his parents and sister in 1931, settling in Brooklyn, NY, where he grew up. Following his father’s death in 1938, Dewar immediately went to work as a soda jerk in a local pharmacy in Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton neighborhood to support the family.
After flunking out of regular high school, he attended Brooklyn Technical High School and earned his high school diploma in the early 1940s. He went to work in the print shop at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, commuting more than an hour each way by subway. Dewar was classified 4-F for the World War II draft because of a medical condition that could be fixed with elective surgery. He saved what he could from his paycheck and had the surgery as an outpatient. He bled all the way home on the subway, but finally enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945. He completed basic training as the war ended and served two years, learning the drafting trade.
After honorable discharge from the Army, Dewar went to work for the New York ship-designing firm Gibbs and Cox. But he wanted to continue his education. As a member of Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge Masonic Lodge, he sought his brothers’ help in finding a suitable college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, somewhere other than in New York City. He settled on Park College in Parkville, MO. There he met Martha Malan. They were married February 12, 1950, after both had graduated from Park College and Martha had earned a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. The Dewars then moved to Wyandotte, MI, where he worked for the YMCA.
The lure of further education brought Dewar back to the Kansas City area where he earned a master’s of education at the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri, Kansas City). He took a job as a math teacher at Hickory Grove School in Overland Park, KS, upon completion of his degree. Eventually, he rose to principal of Tomahawk School in the same school district.
While at Tomahawk School, he commuted to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, and earned his doctorate in elementary education curriculum and instruction. He then took a faculty position at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, where he retired in 1983 as a full professor. He was the first member of his family to go to college.
Dewar retired to Chicago, IL. During retirement he enjoyed traveling. He visited the Soviet Union before its collapse, Greece, Turkey, Britain, France and Italy. He spent the month of February almost every year of his retirement in Mexico. In 2005, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, he moved back to Lawrence, KS, to be near his son and daughter-in-law. He came to San Angelo, TX, in 2007 with his son, a history professor at Angelo State University.
Dewar’s wife, Martha Malan Dewar, and his parents, Alexander Paton Dewar and Isabella Grant Dewar, preceded him in death. His son, David Paton Dewar, his daughter-in-law, Carol Honeyman Dewar, both of San Angelo, TX, and his sister, Agnes Conway of New Jersey, survive. A memorial service will be held at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. He will be buried at Galum Cemetery in Pinckneyville, IL, in his wife’s family’s plot. Arrangements are by Shaffer Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, the family suggests contributions to the University of Kansas Endowment Association.
This information was provided to the Journal-World as a paid tribute.