Franklin E. Dawkins

February 19th 1948 - May 18th 2020


Frank's Tribute Video


Frank's Obituary

Franklin (Frank) Edward Dawkins, 72. Born February 19th, 1948 in Newark, NJ. He fell asleep in death on Monday, May 18th, 2020.

Frank was a lifelong resident of his beloved hometown of Newark, NJ. He attended Essex County Vocational and Technical School (Irvington Tech) in Irvington NJ. Frank had a talent for math and science and would later attend Essex County College and then New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark NJ.

Later on, Frank would work over 30 years with the Local 825, Union of Operating Engineers (UOE) as a Contractor where he would eventually retire. Frank worked many roles as a contractor, including supervising the design and development of high-rise buildings, bridges, and tunnels.

This included major infrastructure building projects such as the Newark Airport expansion project, Garden State Parkway, Giant’s Stadium, and the Meadowlands Arena as well as several other public venues. Frank often proudly showed off the projects he worked on. Some of his children would later work in a similar field, no doubt because of Frank’s influence.

Before Frank’s Construction and Engineering career, Frank was appointed Crew Chief for the South Side Ambulance Squad - the first all African American Squad in Newark’s South Ward.  The South Side Ambulance Squad was founded and organized by his parents, the late Russell and Mollie Dawkins, who were pioneers in Newarks’ civic community serving the underprivileged in Newark. The South Side Ambulance Squad, the first in its community, would later deliver the first kidney transplant in the State of New Jersey.

Frank was very proud to be part of a family that served the people in his beloved City. His volunteer work along with others on the South Side Ambulance squad , would go on to receive an award for performing life-saving services. His work in Emergency Services also cemented his desire to help people.

His early volunteer work with the South Side Ambulance Squad would strongly influence his humanitarian efforts later in life. Frank volunteered to aid workers during the cleanup and recovery of Ground Zero during 9/11. Upon learning of the safety of two of his daughters who worked in and around the World Trade Center at the time, he understood the desperation of families concerned about their loved ones ; Frank was moved to give back in some way.

Frank, known by many socially, was approached with an opportunity to serve as a board member for an Autistic Children's Non-Profit foundation. His love for children and desire to make an impact made it necessary to support organizations that lived by those same values. This was said by a close family friend, “He was the Dad that became a Dad to every young person he interacted with."  Frank was a mentor to many children. He felt it was his duty to inspire young people to pursue their education, and for some entrepreneurship. Frank truly believed that children were the future and felt it was part of his responsibility to provide guidance and leadership where he could.

Frank was a true entrepreneur. Self-taught and later educated in the field, he turned his hobby of photographing people into a full-time business specializing in portraits, headshots, and weddings. Frank would also use this business as an opportunity to mentor young photographers. He was always seeking profitable ways to use his talents to give back to his community. Later, in his local real estate investment venture, Frank would give construction-related jobs to locals who needed work and transferable skills that would later qualify them for more substantial employment in the future. 

An avid sports enthusiast and talented athlete, Frank would excel in a few sports. Frank loved swimming and deep-sea diving at some of New Jersey's dive sites.  A lifelong basketball fan and a former recreational street ballplayer, he would play with some Of the greats at the famous Rucker Park in Harlem and the courts downtown Manhattan. He shared his love of basketball with his children by attending NY Knick games at Madison Square Garden. He would later share that same love of the game with his grandchildren.

Frank was also a Black Belt in the Martial Arts. Frank always said, “Becoming a black belt was more than a sport; it was a practice." The sport offered him the opportunity to cultivate a higher degree of self-control as well as a tool for self-defense. He taught many the techniques he knew, especially young women, so they would know how to defend themselves when needed.

Frank loved life and he desired to live his life the best he could for as long as he could.  His life could be summed up in the words recorded by the late, Frank Sinatra, “ I Did It My Way.”   Yes, Frank lived life his way.


Frank is survived by his wife, Cheryl Dawkins; Children, Kisha Dawkins, Daimien Dawkins(Denise), Shakira Carter (Dante), Tamara White(Laquan) and an honorary daughter- Geraldine Canon; Ten grandchildren: Kyree, Andrew, Naomi, Shane, Daimien Jr, Christian, Caleb, Jaelle, Gabriel and Bella; Two Sisters: Ms. Vivian Clifton and Ms. Debra Dawkins; Three Nieces: Ms. Bridgette Walker, Ms. Johnavia Walker, and Mrs. Lori Jackson-Bogle; Three Nephews: Mr. Von Vickers, Mr. Harold Vickers, and Mr. Charles Clifton and 1 Aunt, Mrs. Ion Moore and many cousins and extended family.


Preceded in death: Patricia Davis Dawkins; Parents, Russell and Mollie Dawkins; Brothers: Edward Dawkins and Harold Vickers. He was affectionately known as “Pop Pop” to many bonus children and grandchildren. Frank will be greatly missed by a host of other relatives and a plethora of friends and colleagues that knew him.


Guest Book

Please visit the Guest Book below and leave a Tribute to Frank.


When Great Tree's Fall

By Maya Angleou

When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even

elephants slumber after safety.

When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our

eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on

kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.

Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon

their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall

away. We are not so maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.

And when great souls die, after a period, peace blooms, slowly and, always irregularly. Spaces

fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper

to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

Memorial Service


Remembering Frank -

Expressions From Others

Daughter Tamara
Daughter Tamara Part 2
Lori Jackson Bogle
Bridget Walker
Daughter Shakira Carter
Grandson AJ
Meva Moore
Daughter Kisha
Grandson Christian

Frank's Playlist

The music has been put together by Frank's close family.