John R. Lawson Jr.
WILMINGTON- John R. Lawson, Jr., 83, died on October 23, after defying cancer with everything he had over the course of the past five months. He was strong, and brave, and lived every day he could to be with his family.
Mr. Lawson was raised in North Stamford, CT. He was the son of John Ralston Lawson, a well-drilling contractor, and Anne Louise (Engel), a registered nurse. Having just turned 17 years old, he chose to leave high school in the 11th grade and enlisted in the Army. He was sent to the Korean War, trained as an armored tank soldier, and notably served in the final “Battle at Porkchop Hill” in the spring and summer of 1953. He received the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone and was promoted to corporal.
Upon his return home from the war, he met his lifelong wife of 61 years, Margaret (Munko). They married in 1957 and had four children. He was a 50-plus-year member of CT Carpenter’s Union Local 210. At 26 years old, Mr. Lawson began a career of building houses on speculation, which included large homes in Stamford, CT, and vacation homes in Vermont. All his houses were of his own design and many entirely built, solely, by himself. He was a man’s man. He made his mark in this world by the sweat of his brow, intelligence, and can-do determination.
From 1976 to1980, he built a 36-foot, gaff-rigged cutter sailboat in his spare time. He named it “Zbohom” which means “Go with God” in Slovak, his wife’s native language. He wished to go around the world in this boat with his son, John, but tragedy struck. After a day of sailing on Long Island Sound, his son was traumatically brain-injured in a motor vehicle incident at the age of 18. John and his wife took great strides to ensure the utmost care for their son for 33 years.
Mr. Lawson is survived by his wife Margaret at their home in Wilmington; his sister, Ellen Lawson; his daughters, Suzanne Zimmerman, and Pamela and her husband Bud Dwyer; his son, Gari Lawson; grandsons Fran Barone, and Shane Zimmerman; and granddaughter Ashley Dwyer; a great-granddaughter Khloe Zimmerman; as well as many extended family members and friends. Mr. Lawson was preceded in death by his beloved eldest son, John J. Lawson, in 2015, and his sister, Anne O’K Cummings, in 1986.
Services will be private. Donations in remembrance can be made to the Boy Scouts of America.