Bobby Lawson, 91, was the first baby born on the Peninsula in 1927 to John Robert Lawson (Captain Johnny) and Iola Topping Lawson in the first hour of January 1st. Bobby left us on April 11, 2018 to be with his first wife, Betty Anne Minnegerode Lawson, and second wife, Carolyn W. Lawson, both of whom predeceased him. His brothers John Healy Lawson and Charles Franklin Lawson, sisters Caroline Lawson Sullivan and Iola L. Lawson have also left this earth before Bobby. He is survived by his children, John R. Lawson, II and wife Paige, Dr. R. Bland Lawson and wife Kym, and Elizabeth Lawson Taylor, stepchildren Debbie Carrithers and Laura Calvert and husband Chris along with grandchildren Betsy, Julie, Taylor, Tess, Jack, Robert, Harrison, Ally, Zach, Cam, Les, Evan, Drew, four great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Brother-in-law I. Earl Lawson is the last surviving relative of his generation. Bobby started a long and successful career as a partner with Bill Jordan in 1958 with the establishment of W. M. Jordan Company after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1949 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He was responsible for all of W.M. Jordanâ€™s jobsite construction operations. He retired five years ago, but remained Chairman of the Board until this past February. He was also a World War II veteran and served his country as an enlisted officer in the Navy stationed in Pearl Harbor. Projects that he was particularly proud of include Christopher Newport University, Newport News City Hall, Hampton Roads Convention Center, the Virginia Living Museum, An Achievable Dream Academy, the Marinersâ€™ Museum, Riverside Hospital, the Virginia Air and Space Museum, Riverwalk at Yorktown, the William & Mary Law School and 14 peninsula high schools. More than $15 billion dollars of construction was completed under his leadership. He was a devoted Virginia Tech football and Frank Beamer fan and attended all home games. Bobby was an avid hunter and fisherman that learned from his Dad and passed that love along to his children. He was past president of the Warwick Rotary Club, Peninsula Builders Exchange, and Associated General Contractors of the Peninsula. He was a member of the board of the Bank of Hampton Roads and Central Fidelity Bank. He received the Virginia Tech â€œHall of Fame Constructorâ€� award in 2004, AGC of Virginia Honorary award in 2005, the Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and the Silver Beaver Award of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also an active member of the Warwick Yacht Club, the Hampton Yacht Club and the James River Country Club. Bobby grew up and was baptized in First United Methodist Church in Hampton. He joined First United Methodist Church in Newport News when he moved there and married Betsy. Upon his final move to his original neighborhood in Hampton, he once again became part of the First United Methodist congregation. Our family appreciates the love and support of Bobbyâ€™s caregivers over many years; Jeanette, Sandra, Sharon, Aiysha, Marcella, Antoinette, Julie and Walter. The family is making a donation to the Virginia Living Museum (524 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601) in memory of Bobby. He was one of the Warwick Rotary Club members that was instrumental in its creation. The family will receive friends at the R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S Armistead Ave, Hampton, VA, on Friday, April 13th from 6:00-7:00pm. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at 4:00pm on Saturday, April 14th at CNU Pope Chapel, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Newport News, VA, with Rev. Candee Martin and Rev. Jay Lawson officiating. Burial will be private for immediate family. The family would like to invite friends and family to join them for a reception at the James River Country Club, 1500 Country Club Rd., Newport News, VA, following the service.
Published in Daily Press from Apr. 12 to Apr. 14, 2018.