Dawn Kathryne Smith

Dawn Kathryne Smith, 72, passed away peacefully August 21 at Evans Memorial Hospital after a brief battle with Covid-19. Dawn was born November 14, 1948 to the late Linwood Ponder (Possum) and Fay Theus Smith. She was an only child and their “Sunshine” as she lit up the room with her smile and zest for life. She went to school in Claxton most of her life, but graduated from Ludowici High School. Dawn became a R.N. in 1971. She worked every job imaginable for a R.N. She was an ER nurse in Hinesville, Georgia and a dialysis nurse in Honolulu, Hawaii during the 1970’s. She ran the Beaches Health Department and was the director of the adolescent unit of a drug treatment facility in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and she was the director of a detox drug treatment facility in Jacksonville, Florida during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dawn returned to her hometown of Claxton and worked in administration at Evans Memorial Hospital and worked as a Hospice Home Nurse during the 1990’s. She returned to school and received her B.S.N. from Georgia Southern University in 2000. She started working for the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2000 and eventually received her Master of Nursing degree. She retired in 2012 as Health Service Administrator at Medical College of Georgia – Department of Corrections – Georgia Diagnostics and Classification Prison. Her passion in life was helping and healing others and she took care of people and animals until her passing. Dawn was a member of The First United Methodist Church of Claxton. Her faith was very important to her, and Pastor Mike Lyons was a great comfort to her as she dealt with the loss of her husband, Tim earlier this year. Dawn and Tim enjoyed years of camping (glamping) in their various fifth wheel campers. Her “Happy Place” was High Falls State Park in Jackson, Georgia. She took a final trip in July of this year with her daughter, son-in-law and great-grandson to grieve Tim and to visit old friends. Dawn’s love of Elvis was deep and lifelong. She attended her first concert when she was five years old and continued to go see him until his passing. She even attended the yearly Elvis impersonator conventions and had tickets to go this year with her beloved Aunt Pam. Dawn was preceded in death by her parents, Linwood “Possum” and Fay Smith; her husband and soulmate, Tim Palmisano; her uncle, Al Theus; her aunts, Judy Groover and Cheryl Seaton; cousins, Charlie Theus, Art and Tal Groover; her 30+ year old African grey parrot, Ike; and her beloved dachshunds, Jackson and Bucky. Surviving are her daughter, Nichole “Nikki” Gordon (Galen) Waters of Claxton; son, Gary (Garell) E. Gordon, Jr. of Claxton; grandsons, Spencer (Ashley) Masse of Sylvania, Ga. and Dalton Waters of Claxton; great-grandsons, Titan Masse of Metter, Ga., Logan Parker and Tylan Johnson of Sylvania, Ga.; aunts, Pam (John) Jordan of Brunswick, Ga. and Sybil Theus of Richmond Hill, Ga.; cousins, Yvonne (Mike) Griffin, Fred Theus, Mia Groover, Tere (Creg) Miller, Brian (Leslie) Seaton, and a multitude of cousins; her beloved dachshunds, Slinky, Monkey (Baby Girl) and Artie. Over the years, Dawn had many, many unrelated people call her “Mama Dawn”, “Grandma Dawn” and “Mema”. She saw their potential and tried to help them see it. She took them under her wing, protected them and encouraged them to grow. She was very proud of “her babies” and “her other children”. There are too many to name, but she loved them all dearly and called them all “Hers”. Dawn was a beautiful soul who loved hard and will be greatly missed by her family, multitude of friends and animals everywhere. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.