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Call now for immediate attention: 772-999-5547

Dawn Dickinson Roberts

June 26, 1937 ~ February 11, 2021

Dawn Dickinson Roberts left this earth on February 11, 2021.
She is survived by her sons, Thomas Dickinson and fiancée, Roubina Morgan, Lee Dickinson and companion Lori Dessingue. Siblings, Patricia Thurin, Theresa Budd, Alan Roberts. Joining in heaven her brothers, Ronald and Terrance Roberts, and parents, Blanche and Arthur Roberts.
Dawn was originally from Ellenville, NY and attended and graduated high school in 1955. She attended Cortland State College and graduated in 1959 in the physical education field. Dawn taught Physical Education at Burnt Hills and Ballston Lake, NY high schools for 34 years where she taught and befriended many students and student teachers.
A gifted coach and fighter for equal opportunities for girls’ athletics. Her career culminated with a state championship in field hockey in 1988.
After traveling, Dawn retired to New Berne, NC and then moved to Vero Beach, FL, where she could enjoy her favorite sports of tennis and golf year-round, she loved competition.
Dawn would like to thank and bless all her family and wonderful friends she made during her life.
Condolences may be shared online at


Connie Turner

February 14, 2021, 2:37 pm

Lee and Lori,
I’m so very sorry for your loss, you and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. Miss you! Safe travels home. Love, Connie

Marie Articolo Miklic

February 16, 2021, 3:25 pm

Mrs. Dickinson became my physical education teacher when I was in 4th grade, and taught us in HS as well. By the time I was 10, I had decided to be a p.e. teacher myself.
She did so much more than teach us. She coached most of our girls sports. In field hockey, she was extraordinary as coach and player. She led BH to many championships and encouraged our participation in the local Mohawk FH club. I remember her substituting me out during a particular game. A few minutes later, she asked me if I was ready to do better. I was ticked, but I went back far more committed.
We were always inspired to excellence. Dawn coached gymnastics, and even held gym expositions for us to perform for the community. She was a talented athlete in everything she tried. She set up a “leaders club” for those of us who wanted to be involved in something every single day. She encouraged us to participate far beyond the HS level. And yet she always made time to talk and listen to us. Whatever we needed, she was there.
Dawn was even part of a committee to install lights on our tennis courts well before other schools had lights.
Personally, she helped me become involved in officiating women’s sports; something I enjoyed for over 30 years. She recommended me for her position at BH while she took a “practice retirement.” And she choreographed some dances I could use with my classes. I will never be as good at anything as she was, but she was always there for us.
Dawn was forever my mentor. And I will be forever grateful to her.

Joan Truesdell

February 16, 2021, 4:02 pm

I was fortunate to have Coach Dickinson in PE and as a coach in every sport I could be in. That was pre Title IX so her encouragement was all us girls had. (Although I do recall her trying to find a scholarship for an exceptional athlete.) She was very professional, approachable, wise, AND she had a good sense of humor. I was emphatic in class that I could not, could never, do a cartwheel. She would not take no for an answer. I did my first and only cartwheel. The only decision I did not like was her ban on fans. No one was allowed to cheer on our undefeated basketball team because she thought that would be a distraction. It probably would have been since no one paid attention to girls sports.
May you, her heirs, find comfort in her story.

Frances Dobroski

February 16, 2021, 5:55 pm

I find this very hard to write, I have known Dawn for nearly 50 years. She was also a mentor to me as a new young teacher. I learned a great deal from her. More than she will ever know. She influenced a great many young girls and many went into some type of phys. ed. career because of her. Whenever you were around Dawn there was laughter and fun. Many good times on the lake and on Midline Road. There was laughter, dancing, and games. My husband was her favorite Manhattan maker. He would always slip a little extra in her drink. I don’t think there was a thing she couldn’t do. I will miss her hand painted Christmas cards. Lee and Tom were her pride and joy.
I will always think of her with a smile on my face.

Kelly Vrooman

February 16, 2021, 8:49 pm

I read Marie Miklic’s and Joan Truesdell’s condolences, and both gave me chills. I too agree that Coach O’Neil was so instrumental in building awareness for equality in women sports. I played field hockey for Coach O’Neil for 4 years, and it was our senior year, in 1987, at Burnt Hills we won a NYS Championship in field hockey. All of my sisters were fortunate to have been coached by her in high school. All three of us went on to play field hockey in college. She inspired us to be strong women. Although I only knew Coach from a player aspect, she is definitely part of the reason I coach today at Burnt Hills. I can only hope I can inspire those, as she inspired me and my teammates. She stuck her neck out for us in the 1980’s, and told us players, “don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do it because you’re a girl”. I have such great memories, and I’m so lucky to have been a small part in her life. My thoughts are with her friends and family. – much love, Vrooman#11

Betsy Drury (Walters)

February 19, 2021, 11:38 am

I am blessed to have known Dawn as Coach O’Neil. I played on her team in the late 80s when she lead us to a state championship. She had clear vision as a coach and the amazing ability to see and nurture individual potential. At times during practice and games, our connection was so clear, we barely had to speak. She embraced and lead our spirited team with grace and style, and created an environment of fairness, dignity and belonging. I am grateful to have received her support and to have played on her team.

Peter John Hulett

February 20, 2021, 3:11 pm

I am very sorry for your loss. I did not meet Dawn, but I believe she is related to my late wife, JoAnne Roberts Hulett and her brother Tim Roberts. I believe that my father in law, Bernard Roberts was raised by Blanche and Arthur, after his parents pasted, Arthur being his brother, but I may be wrong. Again I am so sorry for your loss, GOD Bless.

Geraldine Havasy

February 21, 2021, 12:00 pm

We are saddened at the passing of Coach O’Neil, who was instrumental with our 3 daughters at Burnt Hills. Our family had moved to Burnt Hills in the fall of 1981. Dawn asked our oldest daughter to come out for field hockey in the fall. When Simone came home and told me, I said that was great and then looked up field hockey in the encyclopedia. I was born & raised in NYC and the only sport for girls was cheer leading for boys basketball. Simone, Monique and then Tiffany played field hockey with Dawn, and it was a wonderful experience for all of them.

Kim Greeley Selden

February 21, 2021, 10:19 pm

I played field hockey for “Coach D” from ’72 to ’74; honestly, it was the highlight of my high school years. And I can thank Coach D for much of that – her enthusiasm, her love of coaching, her encouragement and support, her sense of humor and yes, her calling it as it was. Like the time on the way home from an away game she said to me “you know, that last (opposing team’s) goal was your fault”. Which had lost us the game BTW. But she didn’t just say that, she explained what I did wrong. So I learned from the experience, in more ways than one. Life lessons.

From field hockey to tennis coach, gym teacher, GAA (Girls Athletic Assoc) I was so used to fair and equal treatment I didn’t even realize at the time how rare it was for girls in that era to have varisty sports, let alone a variety to choose from. And to be treated as equals to the boys.

To her family, I am so very sorry for your loss. May it comfort you to know she made an impact – a big one.

Fred See

June 29, 2021, 8:33 pm

i once saw dawn make an unassisted triple play in an ellenville 6th grade recess softball game — over 70 years ago now, but i remember it clearly as a moment that suddenly showed me how simple the universe could be behind the screen of rules and laws that complicate life. we on the opposing team went crestfallen back to the daily routine of our studies, but i carried with me then and up until now the image of that extraordinary event, an unpredictable triumph over the conventional order of things, like the impossibility of a hole in one. that promise has stayed with me throughout life. i’m grateful.

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