David "Dave" Thomas Lawless
SPRINGFIELD - David "Dave" Thomas Lawless, 68, of Springfield, died at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at his home after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer.
Dave was born on August 6, 1944, in Fairbury, IL, the son of Joseph P. and Marjorie E. (Ashley) Lawless of Sibley, IL. He married Karen June Preckwinkle on August 8, 1970. They celebrated their 40th anniversary in August 2010 with a trip to the northwest, which included a cruise to Alaska.
After his father returned from WW II, Dave lived on farms near Strawn and Chatsworth, IL. In 1952, he moved to Camp Grove and then in 1954 to Chillicothe, IL, which Dave considered to be his hometown. In 1960, he moved to Rockford with his mother and sisters and graduated from Rockford East H.S. in 1962.
From 1966 to 1968 he served in the U. S. Army. Dave attended Bradley University and later graduated from SIU-C. He enjoyed a 30 year career traveling through Illinois providing seminars for the Illinois Department of Revenue Training Division, retiring in 2002.
Dave's passion for life was best seen through his various interests. For many years, Dave was an accomplished auto-racing photographer, concentrating on sprint cars. He was a 3-time winner of the Dale Mueller Memorial Photography Award and worked as a track photographer at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. His racing photo collection was donated to the Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2012. Dave also won awards for his fine art and nature photography, including the local "On Your Own Time" contest.
Throughout Dave's life, he had an uncanny ability to put his handprint on everything he was involved in. Dave proudly belonged to American Legion Post 32 where he built the Memorial Walkway and enjoyed helping take care of the grounds. He also built and maintained the Val-E-Vue Memorial Park in his beloved neighborhood. He was a cofounder of the Lawless Family Association and helped organize multiple "Lawless Family and Friends Reunions."
He was a longtime member of the ACLU, the Nature Conservancy, and a number of national conservation and historical societies. Dave was also a member of the Reisch Brew Crew and built a treasured collection of breweriana.
Dave was also avidly involved with Springfield youth baseball for several decades. In 1993, he founded the American Legion Post 32 Springfield Pride Baseball Team. For eleven years, the Pride played against American Legion baseball teams in top tournaments throughout the Midwest. In honor of his years of commitment to youth baseball, the Springfield Park District named a local park associated with youth baseball the "David T. Lawless Park" in October 2012. Dave will also be inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame – Friend of Sport category in April 2013.
Dave was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. His pursuit of knowledge was never ending and he enjoyed numerous hobbies including gardening, backyard birding, reading, traveling, genealogy and volunteering his time to various causes.
He was preceded in death by his mother and his father.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Karen; two sons: John and Ryan (wife, Colleen) Lawless and granddaughter, Sydney, all of Springfield; grandsons: Neil and Nick Lawless of Mt. Olive; sisters: Marjo Schmidt of Springfield and Janita Kemnitz of Elk Grove. He also leaves a wonderful extended family of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins, and friends.
Cremation service was accorded by Butler Cremation Tribute Center prior to ceremonies.
Memorial Gathering: Family will receive friends from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Monday, March 18, 2013, at Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield.
Memorial Ceremony: 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home with Celebrant Judy Woerner officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery with military honors.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the David Lawless Park Fund – Springfield Park District, c/o Bank of Springfield, P.O. Box 19301, Springfield, IL 62794 and/or St. John's Hospice, 800 East Carpenter, Springfield, IL 62769.
Please visit butlerfuneralhomes.com to offer your condolences.
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