Editor's Note: James “Pooley” Dawson died on Friday, August 15. He will be greatly missed by his B.A.S.S. family.

“Oh I believe there are, angels among us…”

Dateline:  Heartsick

There are people out there who could change the world,

if the world knew them.

In a career of listening to thousands of voices, I have met a few.

A few who could change things.

And every one of them, were quiet.

The loudest amongst us may become the most well known, the politicians, the brash and the bold.

But it is the quiet ones who will ultimately save us.

It’s not what you shout, but what’s in your soul, that counts.

Millions will never know the name, the man simply known as, “Pooley,” but to the thousands of us who do,

to those who do,

we know he was sent to us, to make us better.

To know “Pooley,” is to never forget, that there is Kind in Man.

“…to show us how to live…”

Me:  “What’s with waving the towel.”

Pooley:  “What’s with the notebook.”

Me:  “Who are you.”

Pooley:  “Who you.”

The exact conversation from the first time I met, James “Pooley” Dawson.

Me:  “I’m db.”

Pooley:  “I’m Pooley.”

Me:  “What’s a Pooley.”

Pooley:  “You’ll see.”

And for the next several years at every Elite event I was at…I saw.

Saw from Pooley, compassion, diplomacy, understanding, and I do believe, love.

“These my boys db, these my boys, all this, my second family.”  And with a sweep of his hand he took in all the Elite anglers waiting in line to be weighed-in, the B.A.S.S. workers behind the stage, pretty much all of B.A.S.S, and I do believe, actually saw the sweep of his arm, take in all the fans in the crowd.

And then came this short little whistle, and Pooley immediately swung around and looked up onto the Bassmaster stage and made eye contact with probably the closest person on the tour to him, Tournament Director, Trip Weldon, who was looking at Pooley, standing with white towel in hand at the corner of the stage,

and smiled.

And for those of us behind the stage, and for those of us in line, the show never really began,

until Pooley waved his towel.

“…to teach us how to give…”

“Pooley, is an icon in this sport db, he is the face of B.A.S.S., his career spanned all four owners of B.A.S.S.”

As Trip is telling me this I can hear in my friend’s voice sadness, “He’s not doing well db, his health is failing, he is in a nursing home, it’s serious db.”

Trip may shoot me for this but earlier this week Trip and his wife, Mary went to visit his old friend, “I held his hand and he kept saying, ‘one more time, one more time,’ I told him we would hit the road one more time.”

Trip and Pooley used to drive together to events, “He could start driving and when he got sleepy I would take over, we did that for years.”

“Towards the end of our visit I whistled like he used to do when stopping the vehicles in the drive through weigh ins.  Pooley and I would whistle to each other all the time…there could be a thousand people in a room and if I whistled, Pooley and I would make eye contact.”

“db he is the kindest, gentlest man I’ve ever known, shared with me and others, tons of wisdom.  Pooley and I, and all the B.A.S.S. workers shared tears, shared laughs, shared life moments, watched each others families grow up, he walked among legends, saw young men turn into legends and helped each and every one of them along the way.”

“…to guide us…”

The last time I ever saw Pooley was at launch of a Bassmaster Classic, he came up behind me, didn’t see him, and he threw a bear hug around me and said quietly in my ear, “Who you.”

I knew, but I said back, “Who are you…” and then he started to laugh and I turned around and gave him hug.

We talked some, some took a couple photos of the two of us together, as I was leaving he held onto my arm and whispered in my ear, “db, what’s my song, what’s my song.”

I told him, I didn’t know what his song would b, but I did tell him exactly this, “Pooley, whenever I hear this song I think John and Paul wrote this line for you, whenever I hear it I think of you…”

“What is it db.”

“It is who are you…who you are.”

And Pooley just looked at me.

“Pooley….whenever I hear Paul McCartney sing….”whisper words of wisdom…” it is your face I see.”

And I walked away to never see Pooley again.

To help Pooley’s family with the ever-mounting medical bills you can send money via PayPal to his wife’s email address: maryoladawson71@yahoo.com

Or you can send checks to: 

Maryola or James Dawson

c/o MAX Credit Union

PO Box 244040

Montgomery AL  36124-4040

And to our friend, Pooley, I will never forget the words of wisdom you whispered to me, to all of us out here, and I promise you this, for as long as I’m around, for as long as Trip is around, for as long as the Elite anglers are around, someone will stand at the bottom of the stage, and will wave a white towel,

in your honor.

We are praying for you Pooley, please get well, we are waiting for you out here for, one more time,

one more time,

for our friend,


For all of us.

“…with the light of love.”

Angels Among Us


Love ya,


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