Dr. Walter Erwin Dawkins II

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Nov. 1, 1945 – March 31, 2018


NATCHEZ — Services for Dr. Walter Erwin Dawkins II, 72, of Natchez, who died Saturday, March 31,2018, in Natchez, will be 11 a.m. today at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez, with the Rev. Joan Warren Gandy officiating.

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Burial will follow at the Union Church Cemetery in Union Church, under the direction
of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time today at the church.

Walter was born Nov. 1, 1945, in Fayette, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Eugene

He was a graduate of Fayette High School, where he received a number of honors. He was the first chair alto saxophone player for four years in the Mississippi Lions All-State Band and a graduation commencement speaker. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northeast Louisiana State College (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe) in Monroe, La., where he was named the Outstanding Pre-Med Major. He earned his medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. While completing his medical internship at Chelsea Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Mass., he received the award for Outstanding Medical Intern in 1971. He completed his residency in family medicine in Charleston, S.C. After completing his internship, he served as the medical officer aboard the USS Tecumseh (SSBN- 628) during the Vietnam War. He retired from the Navy as a commander after serving on the staff at Millington Naval Hospital in Millington, Tenn.

Walter was a devoted family practitioner with a private family medicine practice in Natchez from 1977 until 2015 and served as an emergency room physician with Natchez Community Hospital and Natchez Regional Medical Center. He was a member of the Homochitto Valley Medical Society, Mississippi State Medical Association, American Medical Association and the Southern Medical Association of Family Practitioners. He was a past chairman of the board of Natchez Regional Medical Center. He was board certified by the Navy in diving and hyperbaric medicine and enjoyed diving trips with his scuba diving buddies.

Walter also enjoyed playing his alto sax with various local musical groups in Natchez over the years. He was a past deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez, a past board member of the Natchez Little Theatre and a member of the American Amaryllis Society.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include one son, Walter Erwin Dawkins III and wife, Mary Turner Benoist Dawkins; one daughter, Laura Shotwell Dawkins Belsito and husband, Antonio; five grandchildren, Katherine Elizabeth Dawkins, Walter Erwin Dawkins IV, Leoluca Giorgio Belsito, Giovanna Sinclair Belsito and Chiara Marie Belsito; three brothers, Ernest Eugene Dawkins Jr., Imon McDuff Dawkins and wife, Betty, and Stephen Fairley Dawkins; and beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Pallbearers will be nephews, Stephen, Dustin and Gus Dawkins, Ray Steed, Brooks Harrington and Will Devening.

Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Homochitto Valley Medical Society, Larry H. Holder, Spencer Holder, Charles Fairley Dawkins, Charles Joseph Custer, Francis Markley Huey, Paul Benoist and Paul B. Harrington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Natchez Humane Society or First Presbyterian Church in Natchez.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.