Obituary for John Dawkins, father of Richard Dawkins


We were saddened to learn this week that Richard Dawkins' father passed away. All of us at Boing Boing extend our condolences to the Dawkins family. From a remembrance by Richard Dawkins:

My father, (Clinton) John Dawkins, who has died peacefully of old age, packed an enormous amount into his 95 years.

He was born in Mandalay in 1915, the eldest of three talented brothers. John's boyhood hobby of pressing flowers, reinforced by a famous biology teacher (AG Lowndes of Marlborough) led him to read Botany at Oxford, and thence to study tropical agriculture at Cambridge and ICTA (Trinidad) in preparation for posting to Nyasaland as a junior agricultural officer. He and my mother, Jean Ladner, began their idyllic married life at various remote agricultural stations in Nyasaland before he was called up for wartime service in the King's African Rifles (KAR). He wangled permission to travel to Kenya in his own rattletrap car rather than with the regimental convoy, which enabled Jean to accompany him – illegally.

John's postwar work as an agricultural officer back in Nyasaland was interrupted when he received an unexpected legacy from a distant cousin. Over Norton Park had been owned by the Dawkins family since the 1720s. Cousin Hereward Dawkins, casting around the family tree for a male heir, could find none closer than my father, whom he had never met and who had never heard of him.

Obituary for John Dawkins (

Full article at The Independent.

Photograph courtesy Richard Dawkins:
Young Richard, at left, helps his dad carry a fragile load.