James "Pooley" Dawson, who was employed by B.A.S.S. for nearly four decades and helped run hundreds of the organization's events, died Friday after an extended illness.
Dawson was hired by B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott in 1972 and retired in 2010. Scott thought so highly of Dawson that when Scott was invited to the White House for lunch with President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and told he could bring two friends, he chose Dawson and Forrest Wood.
Dawson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from B.A.S.S. in 2005 (to read a column about that occasion that Scott penned for BassFan, click here).
Harold Sharp, B.A.S.S.' first tournament director, passed along this remembrance of Dawson:
"Pooley and I were great friends for 44 years. He was a very important part of the B.A.S.S. staff who made the tournaments run smoothly. I never worried about Pooley being on time and doing his job – just give him a job to do and forget it, and he could handle about anything you needed.
"The Classic drive-in weigh-ins ran smoothly because of Pooley. Early on he and I developed a signal system so we had the boats and anglers moving when we needed them to move. Pooley watched my hand and when it was time to move, I just quickly pointed at Pooley and he waved his white flag to bring up another boat and stop on the exact spot. We never had a problem with it.
"We will all miss our Pooley. R.I.P."
Funeral services will be held Aug. 23 at Hopewell Baptist Church, 1832 Highway 80 West, Lowndesboro, Ala.