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Fayetteville Remembers Mayor Dawkins

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FAYETTEVILLE — "Every morning I came to work in the last couple months, I missed his blue Lincoln in the parking lot. I missed talking with him and saying, 'Mayor, How are you doing? Have a good day,'" says city worker Frederick Clark.

Residents remember him as a leader who cared.

"I think he was a people's person," says Sharon Drake, "always accessible, always had something positive to say, always encouraging."

Dawkins loved the city, and no one knows that better than the President of Save the Children, a home for unwed mothers.

Year after year, Dawkins always came out and supported the home's events.

"He was never too busy. He always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world," says Sylvia Keller.

Some years, Dawkins made more than 800 public appearances.

"To him, everything was so special, every event was special," says Dawkins' secretary Brenda Barber.

He was a leader who treated his part-time role as a full-time job.

Mayor Pro-Tem Milo McBride knows firsthand the impact Dawkins made.

"Nobody will fill the chair like J.L. did," McBride says.

City worker Margaret Weaver agrees. "The position of Mayor, I believe, can be replaced, but not the Mayor himself," she says.

The city he loved loved him back. Now, Dawkins' family is feeling it too.

"It has been overwhelming to the whole family," says Dawkins' daughter Dawn Caison. "We knew people loved Dad. It's just been incredible and that's what's helping us get through this."

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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