Profile Image
Dawn Marie Whitham
February 14, 2023


Dawn Marie Whitham 57, of Groton, CT, passed away at home on February 14, 2023 with her husband Bob Hartley by her side, after a six-year battle with melanoma brain cancer. Dawn was born on June 23, 1965, and from the time she first picked up a pencil, it was apparent she was born with a god given artistic ability. It was not one she took for granted. She nurtured it, studied it, perfected it, and strove to be the best at it. It became her approach to life which she subsequently applied to everything she tried her hand at. It didn’t take long for anyone that met her that she was a talented force to be reckoned with.
Dawn could draw using charcoal and colored pencils, she could paint using acrylics and watercolors, and she could sculpt amazing works. Regardless of the medium, Dawn was simply the best at it. It was during her years at Fitch High School from 1980 to 1983 that she really spread her wings and extended her talents into sports and music. By the time she had graduated, she had become an all-state track and field runner and an accomplished trumpet player in the symphony, jazz, and marching bands.
Dawn graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1987 magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. While at UCONN she continued to excel playing trumpet for both the symphony and marching bands later playing with the All-American College Marching Band for President Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration in 1985. In 1986 she also performed at the Centennial Celebration of the Statue of Liberty with the All-American College Marching Band. Additionally, during her college freshmen year Dawn decided to try a new hobby, weight lifting.
Dawn’s first Job after college was with Simon and Schuster Publishers as a graphic design artist, but after ten years she felt the industry fell short on opportunities. Consequently, Dawn had decided to try her hand in a new industry, tattooing. For her, it was just another artistic medium she felt she could be more creative at. She of course excelled at this too later working for both Flat’s Tattoos and 12 Tattoos. I think most of us know how that weight lifting hobby turned out. During her career, Dawn had managed to squat a massive 405 pounds for six reps and a 405 pound bench press for three reps. In bodybuilding she took home the top prize in the medium category at the Miss USA-AAU in 1990. In 1992 she won the heavyweight class and overall title at the 1992 Atlantic States Championships in the NPC League. In 2005 she narrowly missed out on winning the heavyweight class at the Atlantic States Championships placing runner up, and she finished top five in the Master’s category. Bodybuilding became a way of life for Dawn and she enjoyed passing the vast amount of knowledge she had gained on to a whole new generation of enthusiasts.
Dawn is also survived by her mother and father, Marie and Ken Abbott, as well as by Richard and Carol Whitham, her brother and sister-in-law. Dawn’s beloved parrots, her babies, will miss her greatly. We know Dawn would like to acknowledge the wonderful care and compassion she received at the Smilow Cancer Hospital who extended Dawn’s quality of life six years beyond her initial diagnosis of six months. We also appreciate the care extended by Masonicare Home and Health Hospice.
A celebration of life will be held for Dawn on April 15, 2023 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at Christopher’s Cafe in Groton. As Dawn would say, “Rambo Up” and come down.

Content is coming soon...
Dinoto Funeral Home
17 Pearl Street
Mystic, CT 06355