Flyn James Dawson

1965 ~ 2021


July 23, 2021
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
1950 E. Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah
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  • Service:

    July 24, 2021
    1:00 PM
    13006 S. Boulter Street, Draper, Utah
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  • At the young age of 56, Flyn James Dawson, passed away at his home on Sunday, July 18, 2021, with his wife and daughter at his side. Flyn fought a long, courageous battle with cancer. As a husband, father, son, brother, and uncle he always made it a priority to be involved and engaged with his family. He left his family and friends with many fond memories. Everyone can agree that Flyn was witty yet straightforward, funny and entertaining, and was your instant best friend if you laughed at his jokes. He had endless funny stories that were suspenseful to keep you coming back for more. He liked to say he was working on his stand-up comedy act.

    Flyn was born to Ray H. and Jolene W. Dawson in Provo, Utah and raised in Midvale, Utah. He attended Hillcrest High School and served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Osaka, Japan. His mission instilled in him a deep love for Japan. He served in the Army National Guard and was honorably discharged in 1992. Flyn went on to graduate from BYU and completed an MBA from UC-Irvine.

    He met and married Donna L. VanderNaald in Long Beach, California. Soon after, they were blessed with a daughter, Paige, creating a beautiful family. Together they enjoyed family time and trips to international locations. He passed his love for Japan to his daughter Paige. This connection brought the two of them great joy. He was very attached to his little dogs Rose and Ruby, who stayed by his side religiously.

    At the time of his passing, Flyn was a Senior VP/Senior Relationship Manager in the Core Real Estate Banking Group at Zions Bank. He thrived in his position at Zions Bank and had many friends, colleagues, and clients; he truly cherished those relationships. He simultaneously worked at the University of Utah as an Associate Professor and Lecturer in the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program. He was also the Director of the Ivory-Boyer Real Estate Center. The friendships with his students and staff at the MRED Program brought him great fulfillment. As part of program, he had the opportunity to take students on trips to explore real estate development in other parts of the world. This was probably the part of the MRED experience he enjoyed most.

    Flyn loved sushi and a sharp suit. He relished meeting friends and family for lunch or dinner. In the last few months of his life, many people came to his home to visit, watch sports, or drop in with homemade treats. These gestures brought him so much comfort.

    He had a special place in his heart for those down on their luck who needed a helping hand. He participated in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.

    Flyn served as pianist in the Corner Canyon 5th Ward primary for many years. It was something he really looked forward to doing. He had abiding faith and hope in the Savior. He often listened to his favorite hymns to bring him peace and comfort.

    Flyn is survived by his wife, Donna, their daughter Paige, his parents Ray and Jolene Dawson, his two brothers Brett (Shirley) Dawson and Wade (Marilyn) Dawson, and his only sister Ellen (Alan) Hills. Donna’s mother Phyllis VanderNaald, and Sister-in-Law, Tria (Bill) Welch. Numerous nephews and nieces and their families.
    He was preceded in death by his older brother Micheal Ray Dawson, Father-in-Law, Reinhart VanderNaald and a great nephew Oliver Palma.

    The family wishes to thank the many healthcare professionals who treated and cared for Flyn during his long battle, especially those at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Dr. Jonathan Whisenant. They also wish to extend their gratitude to all the neighbors and friends who reached out, visited and provided assistance over the years.

    A public visitation will be held Friday, July 23, 2021, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Rd. (10600 S.) in Sandy. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. at the Corner Canyon 5th Ward meetinghouse, located at 13006 S. Boulter Street in Draper. An additional visitation will be held prior to the service from 12:00 - 12:45 p.m. Interment will be at the Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery immediately following funeral services. Online condolences may be offered at

    A scholarship fund has been created in Flyn’s honor. There is a link below if you wish to contribute.


    To the Dawson family;
    Treasure and I offer our condolence for the loss of Flyn. I remember many a time he would make me laugh with something he would say when we were young, also how he could make Wade so mad at times. I wish you all peace at this time, and pray you will feel God's love and Comfort.
    Sincerely Clint & Treasure Dumas.

    - Clint & Treasure Dumas

    My condolences to Donna, Paige, parents and rest of the Dawson family. I met Flyn when he lived in Los Angeles many years ago. I was so happy to receive his Christmas card this past December but so sad to hear he was battling cancer. We spoke on the phone recently and as always he was so gracious, not wanting to focus on himself but rather wanting to know how my family and I were doing. Flyn had a BIG heart and was such a positive person. During our phone conversation, he spoke with so much love of Donna and Paige and was so grateful to have them in his life. He shared a photo of Donna and him on his wedding day and wrote "That's the day we got married. I was so lucky!"

    - Ximena Munoz

    I was very sad to hear the passing of Flyn. I want to express from me and my family our condolences to Flyn's family and wish the very best during this sad time. I do know that Flyn is in a better place free from pain and suffering and is very likely smiling and getting acquainted and re-acquainted with family that have passed on before. He will be missed.

    Troy Akagi and Family

    - Troy Akagi

    I love Uncle Flyn so much. I will miss him. I’m praying for Donna and Paige to have some comfort and peace during this time and for the months and years to come.

    - Melissa Palma

    I was part of the 1st class that Flyn taught in the MRED program and it was my 1st semester as well. He was a little unsure about how long it would take to get through his class material and how strict to be. My whole class just loved him from the start. We could tell his true passion was to be a mentor and a friend.
    Fast forward two years later he was the teacher for our graduating classes final project. He was dialed in and gave us great resources, and was on point. He just gave it his all to helpful anyway possible.
    He would never turn away a student to come to his office and talk. He will always be a mentor. His legacy of kindness lives on through those he touched.
    I know God has his arms open and a smile on his face for Flyn!

    - Brody Rypien

    I was so so sad to hear the news about Flyn. Flyn was by far the most caring, compassionate and helpful teacher in the U's business school. He was so supportive during my time there and I always enjoyed his classes and our interactions. A few notable memories stick out for me. One time I was running late to class and trying to pay for my parking permit but had forgotten my license plate number. He came up, walking slowly because of his hip, and offered to go back to my car to look at the plate number and pay for my parking so I could get to class. I didn't want to accept his offer, but he insisted. I made it to class right before a quiz was passed out and couldn't have been more thankful for his kind act. Another time, he offered his students tickets to Abravanel Hall. I reached out to him to claim them and he generously met me off campus to deliver them. I used those tickets to take my parents-in-law and husband to a beautiful concert. My mother-in-law passed away of a heart attack the next week, and I was so happy that we had that one last wonderful experience together, once again due to Flyn's generosity. I didn't know Flyn for a long time, but it didn't take much for him to be immediately thoughtful and generous. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to know a tremendous soul like his and will always remember him with great admiration, respect and love. My deepest condolences go to his family.

    - Amanda Dillon

    Dear Donna, Paige and other family members,
    We wanted to tell you how much we appreciate your husband and father, Flyn and remark about the huge impact he had on us. We had the privilege of getting to know him in the MRED program and were really touched at all that he did to show us that he really cared about us. He gave us so many amazing opportunities to get to know real estate professionals and see actual projects. He too personal interest in the students and we smile to think back on how he allowed us to bring along our son on field trip one Saturday. He often would check in with us to see how we were doing and was so kind to me while I (Synthia) was pregnant during the program as well. It was a real pleasure to associate with him. He was an honest and kind man and we are very grateful we had so many opportunities to learn from him. We have been so sad to hear of his passing and will be praying for you.
    Matt & Synthia Simonsen

    - Matt & Synthia Simonsen

    Just want you to know that Midge and I love Flyn and now Aunt Ruth and Midge get to look out for him, it was always fun to visit with Flyn and enjoy his humor and wit as well as his love of life. May you find comfort at this difficult time knowing he is no longer in pain. I know how hard it is! Peggy


    Just want you to know that Midge and I love Flyn and now Aunt Ruth and Midge get to look out for him, it was always fun to visit with Flyn and enjoy his humor and wit as well as his love of life. May you find comfort at this difficult time knowing he is no longer in pain. I know how hard it is! Peggy


    We love you Dawson family! Flyn is a good man! He will be greatly missed. We send our love to you Donna and Paige!

    - David and Dori Hall

    My sincerest condolences to the whole family. I had the great pleasure of taking the capstone course with Flyn as the professor. He always treated everyone with the greatest respect and everyone loved him back. A true model and lesson for us all, especially now. The obituary is beautiful and accurate to the person I saw in Flyn.

    - Matthew Ciminelli

    I am deeply saddened by the news of Flyn dawson passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Flyn Dawson's soul is now at peace. May my condolences bring you comfort, and may my prayers ease the pain of this loss.

    - Mridul

    Dear Donna and Paige
    I’m so sorry about the news of Flynn. I’m in Norway right now or you know I would have taken the drive to Salt Lake City. I will always remember Flynn for his kindness and interest in others - he always wanted to know what I was up to when visiting. He was bigger than life always happy and shared a joke and enjoyed to eat great food. You all have touched my life and he has gone too soon Sending prayers to you and the whole family Hugs snd Love

    - Wendy Drayton

    Flyn was a wonderful man, leader and mentor. I was associated with him through the MRED program at the U of U.

    A while back, I reached out to him to reconnect. He suggested we go grab breakfast at Finn's, which we did. We had great conversation and good food. Mid-way through the meal he asked, how can I help you? I said, don't need help with anything, just wanted to touch base and catch up. I think that experience for me sums up the type of guy Flyn was....always willing to offer a helping hand and help the next one in line. He will be greatly missed!

    - Jesse Smith

    Flynn was an incredible man. He was a wonderful and positive influence in my life during a critical time. I will always be grateful for his dedication to the students at the University of Utah.

    - Edward Waldvogel

    After hearing the news of Flyn Dawson's passing, I took about the business of the day will a heavy heart. The world lost a good man.

    I first met Flyn years ago in a bank training. We had a discussion about real estate and where we worked. I told him my department did $100 Million in loan proceeds (which when you do small 500k to $5 million loans is a big deal). Flyn then said he (personally) did $100 Million in the last year. I mentioned to him I wanted to work more with developers and he offered to me his pass to the NAIOP symposium (the largest annual CRE meeting in Salt Lake). I took him up on his offer he snuck me into the conference without a ticket.

    Flyn was never afraid to offer his opinion and his opinion was one that was worth hearing. In a private moment he told me, "I wish I could go back to when I didn't have cancer." I wish that too.

    The world lost a good one. Prayers are with his wife and daughter.

    - Travis Mar

    Dear Donna and Paige,

    I was so heartbroken to learn of the loss of wonderful, dynamic, inspirational Flyn.

    What a huge impact one person has had on so many lives. Everyone that met Flyn immediately knew how selfless and genuine he was. A champion of women in business, Flyn was a huge inspiration to me personally, graciously guiding me through the ups and downs of integrating to a new country whilst also taking on a masters. Flyn made it all flow seamlessly, and became somewhat of a father figure to me during my program and in the years after. I'm sure many can attest to this experience.

    Flyn spoke often of his love of Donna and Paige, a family man through and through. They were his anchor, no matter how much he traveled, achieved in business, or what he did at the college, Donna and Paige were always at the root of everything he did.

    Flyn and I bonded over our love of travel and we would often check in depending on where we were in the world.

    Flyn had many great traits, but my favorite is surely how cheeky and funny he was. Even in the most tense of moments, you could always look to Flyn to break the tension with a perfectly timed quip to make everyone at ease.

    Flyn, you are a bright star and a huge impact on everyone who knows you.

    I love you and so does Jack.

    Donna and Paige, we are sending you love, strength and healing in this time.

    - Meg Bond and Jack Lester

    Love you Uncle Flyn. We will miss you dearly. We will miss all of the fun times we shared with you eating at many Asian restaurants. We will miss your teasing and sarcastic comments! You were always one to liven the party, especially when you would recruit everyone to stand outside the bathroom door and make a tunnel with our arms to cheer on family members when they’d exit the potty haha!

    Love you Aunt Donna and Paige, we will always be there for you to support you through this time.

    Families are forever- I thank Heavenly Father for that.
    Sara, Spencer, Jane, and Annie

    - Sara Williams

    Such fun memories of the Dawson boys!!! They were fun friends!! I hope he and Larry can meet on the other side and Flynn can be a real influence to Larry

    - Loyce Powell

    Flyn is one of my fave professors. He is nice, funny and really helpful. I will miss him a lot! May your soul will rest in peace.


    - Miranda Cask

    Thanks for all the great memories, Flynn. May you forever Rest In Peace (with an unlimited supply of Grade A sushi)! Strength and love to your family.

    - Ed Flanigan

    Flyn was a great human being, and I was blessed, and a better person, from knowing him. I hope he rests in peace.
    With love and gratitude,
    Michael Augustine

    - Michael Augustine

    Condolences to the Dawson family. We will sure miss our friend, Flyn.

    - Jared and Cassidee Whatcott

    I met Flyn last year prior to the pandemic. He immediately started sending me loans to syndicate at the credit union I work for. This was no small thing, the credit union I work for and Zions Bank being long-time rivals, but because of Flyn's goodness and perseverance, we were able to complete two such transactions. We are now working on a third transaction with Zions. This has opened a whole new world for me as a lender, as I've been introduced to some of the best developers in Utah and the nation. My production goals will be shattered this year because of Flyn. His efforts have really trajected my career in an amazing way that never would have happened otherwise. Thank you, Flyn, for being such a great associate and unofficial mentor. It has been a pleasure working with you. You will be missed. RIP, Brother!

    I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Flyn Dawson he was a great man. God bless.

    Andrew Brough

    - Andrew Brough


    Our sincerest condolences. Flyn was a wonderful man, he was great to have as part of our original SMCC poker group. Personally, he was a meaningful voice during the 2008 Real Estate meltdown and was a voice of reason. No doubt this is hard, but hopefully, you and yours find peace moving forward.

    Deepest Regrets
    Stacy and Joe Madden

    - Stacy and Joe Madden

    I Love You Brother-
    We sure had many great times and memories of family reunion camp outs at Greys River, Wyoming. Remember Grandpa Williams sitting there playing his guitar around the campfire in the evenings, or when we would go fishing on the river and you would always put the fish back into the river that we caught. . . I could never figure that out. I finally decided that you just wanted to be kind to them. . kinda funny huh? And we had some great times riding the motorcycle with Anderson's out to Fairfield, Utah. And remember that time we were out there and we caught the field on fire out there and Dad & Phil scrambled real hard to put it out. That sure was crazy wasn't it ! And I remember the pigeons you raised and dad built a pen for them in the back yard and from time to time you would let them out and they would fly all over the neighborhood and come back again. And then I remember when you moved to California for a new job at the Bank. I remember telling you that I really missed you when you moved away.
    Well I know you'll be seeing Grandpa & Grandma Williams and G & G Dawson, and Midge and many of our other relatives including our brother Mikey. . . what an incredible reunion that will be.
    I miss you Brother. . .
    . . . Brett

    - Brett Dawson

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had the great opportunity to serve as Flyn's mission companion for three months in the summer and fall of 1984 and know that he will be greatly missed. We served together, just the two of us, in a small, coastal town called Sennan, Japan. I believe that I was his second companion and that he had spent his whole mission up to that point in Sennan. We worked hard, but also had a lot of fun together. I shared one of the most unusual experiences of my life with Flyn. We had left our bikes locked at the local train station one P-day (Preparation Day) as we left town to do some sightseeing. When we returned in the late afternoon, we found our bikes missing. We searched the area in vain to find our bikes worrying that, without transportation, we might not make it to a scheduled teaching appointment that evening. While searching, we passed a police station and decided to ask for their assistance in locating our, likely stolen, bicycles. We carefully explained our predicament (in less than perfect Japanese), and described our bikes in great detail. My recollection is that they even engaged a sketch artist to capture our description. Some time later, we left the station and decided to take a bus home. While walking to the bus stop, we happened upon our bikes, side by side, a few blocks from where we had left them. Perhaps some kids had moved them as a prank. Knowing that we were going to be hard-pressed to make our appointment on time, I made the decision to not inform the police that night, believing that they would give the case extremely low priority if they decided to pursue it at all. Also, to save time, we decided to ride via the main highway as it was the most direct route home. Midway through our ride home, we were startled to see two policemen approaching on motorcycles with their lights flashing. They had received a description of the “stolen” items from their station and pulled us over for the crime of stealing our own bicycles! Fortunately, we were able to explain what had happened and had them call into the station to confirm our story. In the end, we made our teaching appointment and avoided jail time so all was well. We decided never again to question the diligence of the Japanese police. I remember Flyn laughing so hard – he had a great laugh – at the absurdity of the situation. I am sorry I lost touch with Flyn over the years, but have many great memories of him. From reading the obituary, it seems like he had a great, fulfilling life. Please accept my sincere condolences.

    - Keith Miller

    Flyn was truly one of a kind and I will miss him.
    Death Is Nothing At All
    Henry Scott-HollandBy Henry Scott-Holland More Henry Scott-Holland

    Death is nothing at all.
    It does not count.
    I have only slipped away into the next room.
    Nothing has happened.

    Everything remains exactly as it was.
    I am I, and you are you,
    and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

    Call me by the old familiar name.
    Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
    Put no difference into your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was.
    There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
    What is this death but a negligible accident?

    Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
    I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
    somewhere very near,
    just round the corner.

    All is well.
    Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
    One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
    How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!


    - Deborah Hansen