Former resident remembered at City Commission meeting

 By Vanessa Kahin

Staff writer

vkahin@cnjonline.com

City officials allowed time during a regular city commission meeting Thursday at the Clovis-Carver Library to remember Clovis native Johnathan Dawson.

Members of Dawson’s family and close friends occupied more than half of the meeting’s space at the library’s north annex.

Dawson died June 21 following a performance during a Juneteenth celebration at Potter Park.

Dawson had been a recording artist with a voice that many celebrated as being a gift.

When asked who wanted to approach the lectern to say a few words about Dawson, the only person to accept the offer was Retha Taylor-Parsons.

Taylor-Parsons said she could say goodbye to Dawson, but refused to do so. Instead, she said hello.

“I say hello when the world that I’ve been living in collapses at my feet, when my life is all tattered and torn. … I will cling unto His cross, I will close my eyes and hear you sing, ‘God gives me peace in the midst of the storm.’”

She said she will say hello, and pray for Dawson’s wife, LaTonya; she said she will say hello, and thank the Lord for Dawson’s two young daughters, Zaria and Braelyn.

“Johnathan, I’ll see you later alligator,” Taylor-Parsons concluded in her presentation. “I’m coming up yonder.”

Taylor Parsons, who is a sister of City Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, said various members of her family had been touched by Dawson’s life.

“My daughter (Rozalyn Cox) was singing with him when he transcended from this life to eternity,” Taylor-Parsons said. She said other family members had the opportunity to sing with Dawson.

Taylor-Parsons said she was a teenager when Dawson was born.

“We prayed a lot for him, because he was born without a heartbeat,” Taylor-Parsons recalled.

“God gave him quite a few years on this earth,” she said. “We are grateful for that.”

Taylor-Sawyer acknowledged that her request to have a moment to remember Dawson was unusual; he was not a city official nor was he a politician. Also, although he was born and raised in Clovis, Dawson had been recently living in Hobbs.

Taylor-Sawyer thanked Dawson’s family and friends in attendance, as well as city officials for allowing for the time to remember Dawson.

“I appreciate the commissioners, the mayor, (and city) administration for being open to letting us honor his legacy,” Taylor-Sawyer said.