Raymond Hurless "Sonny" Lawson passed away early Saturday, July 30, 2016. He was born Feb. 13, 1929, in Hammond, the youngest child and only son of Raymond John and Mildred Hurless Lawson.
He graduated from Catholic Central (now Bishop Noll) High School. He later enlisted in the United States Air Force, after conveniently forgetting to tell the USAF that he had a large metal plate in his skull, the result of a childhood accident. He served as a corpsman in Guam, the Philippines and Tokyo during the Korean War.
While stationed at Eglin Field, he met Jean Mather. They married on July 17, 1954, and had five daughters. They later divorced.
Ray spent his entire working life selling automobiles. He loved to tell the story of the first car he ever sold in 1955 at Smith Chevrolet in Hammond. He sold the car, but forgot to include the motor (which was priced separately in those days), and had to call the buyer later in the day and ask if they wished to purchase a motor for their new Chevy.
He was a huge fan of the Pacers and Colts, despite living in the Chicago area his entire life, and famously thought the Colts were making a big mistake in drafting Peyton Manning instead of Ryan Leaf.
On Aug. 4, 1989, Ray married Patricia Stearns, the love of his life. He often remarked, "She loves me, but I don't know why." She did, indeed, love him, and cared for him after Parkinson's disease robbed him of his vigor. Ray was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Mary Ellen Telfer; the mother of his children, Jean Mather Lawson; and grandson, David Michael Lawson.
He is survived by Patricia; his sister, Jean Campbell of Crown Point; five daughters, Mary Jean (David) Carney of Lebanon, Barbara Jean Zilz of Fairborn, Ohio, Shirley Jean Lawson (Ron Eenigenburg) of Branch, Texas, Amy Jean (Mike) Estrada of Wheatfield and Cora Jean Jarrett of Evansville; 15 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Ray's wishes were that he not have a funeral, but rather that his ashes would someday be scattered at Stoney Run County Park, where he and Patricia spent many hours walking, and where they donated two benches for the enjoyment of others.
Donations in Ray's memory can be directed to the National Parkinson Foundation at Parkinson.org.
Published on August 2, 2016