Edward Lawson


BAYPORT — Edward Lawson was a quiet, but strong and hard-working husband to wife, Lucille; father to five offspring: David, Patricia, Richard, Cynthia and Edward, Jr.; a grandfather to Amanda, Corey, Janelle, Brandon, Paul, Jessica, Jeremiah, Nathaniel, Dustin, Sarah, Zachary, Lucille and Veronica, and great-grandfather to Michiah, Trey, Greta, Leah, and Adelyn. He was born in Sheffield, Ala., on Dec. 7, 1923, to Herbert and Lorene Lawson and grew up in Nashville, Tenn., along with his younger brother, James. Edward was an active person of many diverse interests. One might say, as the expression goes, that his “Stillwater” ran deep. First of course, was meeting the love of his life, Lu in Seattle, where he was on shore leave from the U.S. Navy and she was working as a civilian for the Army. Immediately upon receiving his honorable discharge at the end of the war, he went directly to her home in Somerset, Wis., to seek her hand in marriage, one that would soon be in the Catholic faith — Ed having originally been raised by his parents in the Church of the Nazarene. Ed and Lu’s marriage would go on to span 67 years. As a devout Roman Catholic, he joined the Knights of Columbus, became an officer in the St. Charles Men’s Club and served as usher in the church for many years. In addition, he put in many hours over the years not only on the audio systems but also in helping with the general upkeep of the parish property. Ed’s expertise was with electronic communications, which began during his military service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he quickly rose to the rank of chief petty officer in radio communications in the Pacific Theatre. In civilian life after the war, he studied at Emerson College in Chicago and then began a long career at the Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. where he was the central office foreman in Stillwater. Several times during his telephone career and after, he participated in major communications projects, first in Alaska in the early 1960s and then at Kwajalein Island in the early 1980s. Ed was known by all to be a very inquisitive individual and he always desired a thorough knowledge of whatever was going on. One example of this is illustrated by his interest in technical issues and his pursuit of government patents on his ideas and inventions. He loved his hobby as a short wave radio operator. The family would often heard him broadcasting from his basement “ham shack,” beginning each session with a “CQ, CQ, calling CQ” over the airwaves under the call letters W0DIR. And after his receiving a reply from some distant ham radio operator, we would be fascinated to hear him converse via the microphone so eloquently — as if he were reading from a script. He was a friend to all fellow radio “hams” out there on the broadcast spectrum. Two other interests: his and Lu’s joy of ballroom dancing and his work as a projectionist for the Stillwater Auditorium Theatre (following a family tradition in Nashville that his father and brother started) became an amazing “life imitates art” experience when he and Lu were selected to be in a dance scene opposite Hollywood stars Craig T. Nelson and Pamela Reed in the 1988 movie “Rachel River.” A number of relatives across the country will always remember being startled to see our two dear family members literally “dancing with the stars” when the movie came out on Public Television. Ed pursued many sports, particularly golf and it’s said that he cherished the day he succeeded to get all three of his sons on the same course with him for a couple of rounds. He loved the sport so much that he maintained his Stillwater Golf Club membership, even while spending a number of years working (and yes, golfing) at Kwajalein Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He was active in the raising of his five offspring and enthusiastically helped each of them in sometimes-extensive home remodeling projects in their homes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico and California. And when not working with them, he loved family camping vacations. And as the couple grew older, Ed and Lu enjoyed traveling to many places in both hemispheres. Ed will be remembered as a very dear husband, a devoted and caring father, and a very proud grandfather and great-grandfather.  He was above all, a kind and decent gentleman and a deeply religious soul. We all miss him deeply and feel blessed to have had him in our lives for all these years. A mass of Christian burial was 11 a.m. today at St. Charles Church, 409 Third St. North in Bayport. Visitation was one hour prior to the service. Burial with full military honors was at St. Michael’s Cemetery. Memorials to donors choice.