Honorary Colonel Thomas Charles Ray Lawson, OSJ, CD
The Phoenix has lost its captain. With his first mate Beverley and crew members Barb and Ted by his side Tom has set off on an extended journey into waters unknown.
After a well-fought battle with cancer, Thomas Charles Ray Lawson died on July 7th, 2014 at his home in London, Ontario. Tom will be sadly missed by Beverley Massey and her family, Ted Lawson (Joanne) of Montreal, Barb Lawson Miller (Neil) of Mississauga and Louise Lawson (Nick) of Adelaide, Australia and his eight grandchildren; Robin, Lauren, Mackenzie and Kahlyn Lawson, Melissa and Austin Miller, Jack and Ellie Keukenmeester. Lovingly remembered by his brothers and sisters, Connie Gardiner (Bob), Joan Vanduzer, Marilyn Snook, Tim Lawson (Karola) and Peter Lawson (Leslie), their families and his many cousins. Pre-deceased by his parents, Colonel Tom and Miggsie Lawson and his sister Frannie.
Born in London, Ontario on January 8th, 1943 Tom attended Medway High School and Upper Canada College followed by the University of New Brunswick and the University of Western Ontario. He settled in London, married Gail Fyffe from Picton, Ontario and had three children, Ted, Barb and Louise. The family moved to Grand Bend in 1979, where Tom served a term as Mayor and was a Lambton County councillor.
In his youth Tom served as an Army reservist and later became Honorary Colonel of the 22(London) Service Battalion in 1998. He strongly supported the Canadian Forces and worked to increase their appreciation as a member for life of the Garrison Community Council.
Tom was a career businessman and entrepreneur serving as a Director of the Lawson Mardon Group, and operating his own enterprises. He was also passionate about aviation operating a flight training business, organizing air shows and flying his own plane. He was proud to have been an Honourary member and Chairman of the Snowbirds 431 Air Demonstration Squadron.
Tom also worked with the First Nations as a member and Director of the Eastern Aboriginal Economic Development Board. In 2011 he was appointed to the First Nations Financial Management Board as Lead Director.
Tom served as President of the Rotary Club of London and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He was recently honoured with the Jack Burghardt Community Service Above Self Award. In 2002 he also received the Order of the Officer of St. John, St. John Ambulance and in 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Over the course of his life Tom served as Secretary of the Great Lakes Cruising Club (Chicago), Chair of the London Museum of Archeology, Director of Lawson Health Research Institute, as both a Vice President and Director of the Lawson Foundation and Grand President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 28 (Chatham). He was also a Long Service Member and Governor of the Commissionaires Great Lakes Division and Executive Director of the London Chamber of Commerce.
Beverley and the family would like to thank the team at the London Regional Cancer Centre and the nurses and care workers that showed him compassion and respect which allowed him to remain at home during his remaining days.
A Service of Remembrance will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church, 280 St. James Street, Friday, July 11th at 11 am. A reception for friends and family will follow after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the London Regional Cancer Centre.
Dr David Cunningham
July 10, 2014, 9:09 pm
My deepest condolences to Beverley and the Lawson family. I will remember Tom as a kind, engaging, intellgent individual who loved life and his family.
July 11, 2014, 7:08 am
Peter and Tim sorry to hear about your brother . There is no more pain or suffering just peace , My condolences
July 8, 2014, 2:25 pm
I am so very saddened to have lost Tom and my deepest condolences to you Bev and the rest of his family.
Tom was the most chivalrous gentleman I have ever known. He wouldn't think of letting me open a door in his presence, just one example of the many kind things he did.
Tom, Jim and I were known as the Three Amigos on the Financial Management Board, a title I was proud to have. And I could always count on him to join me for a glass of wine after our meetings. : )
I will miss him deeply. Sending you all love and healing energy!
July 8, 2014, 2:26 pm
Compared to others, I have known Tom Lawson only a brief time, four or five years. But this was time enough to realize how special this man was. He possessed a sparkling personality and exhibited a cheerfulness which was remarkable as he fought his last battle. I enjoy the discussions that we had about monumental issues of no great consequences. While I was fighting my own health issues this past year his messages and Facebook entries rallied my spirits. I will miss this kind and remarkable man
July 8, 2014, 2:42 pm
It was my great great pleasure to have known Tom Lawson. He was a wonderful energetic man willing to get involved in any good cause. I worked for the family in Grand Bend and got to know him very well. He asked me to chair his campaign for mayor of Grand Bend. As well as being very capable of giving direction he also took direction with grace. I helped him with the air shows that he was so thrilled to put together for the Grand Bend beach. I have great memories of Rotary meetings that we attended together. Tom was a fine man in every respect - both business and personal - and I will enjoy my memories of the time that I got to spend with him. London and Grand Bend have lost a great friend.
July 8, 2014, 2:50 pm
I'm sure the many members of the Great Lakes Cruising Club who served on the board with Tom, cruised with him, or enjoyed his jokes at the many events where he served as MC are as saddened as I by this news of his passing. We will miss you, Tom!
July 8, 2014, 3:34 pm
I am sad to hear of Tom's passing but happy at the same time knowing that Tom is free of all pain.I will remember Tom as a kind,humorous,empathetic and interesting man.I enjoyed our conversations.He loved sharing stories about his much loved family.He spoke often of his Mom,Miggsie and how he adored her.Tom was quite the man and I'm so thankful I got to experience his friendship.
July 8, 2014, 3:37 pm
On behalf of the First Nations Financial Management Board I would like to express our sincere condolences to the Lawson family. Tom was an inspirational Director who gave unselfishly of himself and was committed to our work and cause. He quickly established himself as a gentlemen, with considerable skill and insight. His contributions will be missed.
I will be attending the service this Friday.
First Nations Financial Management Board
David and Anne Bannister
July 8, 2014, 7:05 pm
We were saddened to hear of Tom's passing and extend our condolences to the Lawson family. Tom was a great supporter of the Grand Bend community we love, and contributed much to its success. It was a privilege to know him and other members of your family.
David and Anne Bannister, Grand Bend
James and Tracy
July 8, 2014, 7:20 pm
So many fond memories. Rest peacefully Tom.
Jim Prodger and Stephanie Simonsen
July 8, 2014, 7:39 pm
Tom you are a class act and I am a far better person for having known you. Steph and I wish we could have spent more time with you and Bev although we do have a large blue bottle in the condo to remind us of the time you did visit with us in Fort Myers. The trips to Vancouver will not be as enjoyable without you as my travelling companion. To Bev, Barb, Louise and Ted we extend our condolences and best wishes and remember he can now go boating or flying without worrying about meetings or weather conditions. God Bless you.
Sue & Joe Woods
July 9, 2014, 7:37 am
Our condolences to the Lawson family. Tremendous memories of the children growing up.
Bob and Lenene Harper
July 9, 2014, 8:30 am
Our sincerest condolences to the family on the loss of Tom. So many fond memories.
July 9, 2014, 9:16 am
Bev and family. Please accept my condolences towards Tom's passing. I thank you and your family for the time you allowed Tom to be a huge part of our Snowbird family and for taking the care and commitment towards us
You and Tom will always remain dear to my heart
Snowbird 11. 97 98
July 9, 2014, 9:24 am
Tom's passing is a great loss to his many family members and friends. To his family I wish strength and courage in the difficult weeks ahead.
July 9, 2014, 9:52 am
I was so sorry to hear of Tom's passing. Tom was a true gentlemen and a good friend to the Smith Family. I have many fond memories of the many visits of Tom and his family when he would bring his boat to Port Franks to attend the many Smith birthday parties, anniversaries and summer BBQ's. His great sense of humour and numerous stories were always a hit at our events.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends during this time of sadness.
July 9, 2014, 1:17 pm
Dear Ted, Barbie, Louise and families,
I am so sorry to learn of your dad's passing. I didn't see him often. The times I did were memorable. He always added a personal and thoughtful element to LF events. Bringing news from London community groups and charming anecdotes.
I am sure you will miss your dad a lot. I was very close to my dad and miss him still very much, but feel so lucky to have had him and know what a great influence he has had on my life. Those positive feelings are forever and can help in times of adversity. I know it doesn't feel like that now.
I am sorry not to be able to attend his tribute. We are travelling to Quebec on Friday. I spent the last 2 nights at the farm with Joan. We talked a lot about their growing up together and her strong feelings for her brother.
I wish you strength in the days ahead. Love eachother up and stay close.
X0X0 Sarah V and family
July 9, 2014, 2:02 pm
We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during these difficult times. Our deepest sympathy.
Marilisa, Domenic, and Serina Petrella
Major Patricia Phinney
July 9, 2014, 2:06 pm
The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in London Ontario sends heartfelt sympathy to the Lawson family on the passing of Tom - a fine gentleman and supporter of our community. May God be your comfort during these difficult days.
July 9, 2014, 2:25 pm
It was with great sadness that I heard from John Davidson about the passing of Tom Lawson. Tom did so much for the London community including championing the \\\"Lawson Literary Awards\\\" through the Thames Valley Education Foundation. A true leader and a true gentleman. Tom, you will be missed. Your friend, Kate Young
July 9, 2014, 2:47 pm
It was a great pleasure to know Tom. The country has lost a true friend.My Prayers go out to the family in this trying time
July 9, 2014, 3:22 pm
Tom was a true friend and supporter of many causes. In my capacity as past Director, Museum of Ontario Archaeology, I wish to recognize all of the great contributions he and his family made to the Museum and to our First Nations supporters.
Margaret J. Hill
July 9, 2014, 9:37 pm
To a supreme gentleman and fried. Thomas had a great zest for life and an enduring capacity for commitment and dedication. My times with Tom planning air shows and working with him at the Flight Training Academy will always be cherished. To his dear family: Ted and Joanne, Barbie and Neil, Louise and Nick as well as the little ones, you all have such a legacy to be proud of. It was because of Tom that I met my beloved Hazen, who is waiting with open arms upstairs. And a special thank you to Beverly Massey. You have given Tom happiness these past few years. Your loyalty and dedication will never be forgotten. You have certainly earned well-deserved stripes and stars. All my love to all of you and God Bless you all.
July 10, 2014, 1:59 pm
On behalf of the members of Branch 28 Royal Canadian Legion, Chatham we send our most heartfeld sympathies for your loss. Tom was our Grand President for many years and our members loved and respected him - Lest We Forget
July 10, 2014, 3:36 pm
sending sincere condolences to Tom's family on the loss of a wonderful man. May you be flooded with heartfelt memories and stories from those he touched. Best wishes at this difficult time.
July 10, 2014, 6:14 pm
It was a great pleasure and privilege to know Tom. He was a true gentleman with a kind, magnetic personality. He had a thoughtful way of making others feel respected and valued. I loved his stories and his charm. You always felt good when in his presence. Rest peacefully.
July 11, 2014, 8:47 am
On behalf of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, I would like to extend condolences to the Lawson Family. The Lawson Family were long time supporters of the Museum as well as to many other community organizations. Tom was a board of director at the Museum and served as Chair of the board from 1996 to 1998. Having worked at the Museum for many years, I had the privilege to get to know Tom and always enjoyed his visits to the Museum where he would make a point to come and say hello. He was an intelligent and caring man who contributed greatly to the organizations he gave his time to, and he will be missed dearly.
June 19, 2017, 2:56 am
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