Obituary of Richard Lawson (1935 – 2021) – Sunnyvale, CA
May 26, 1935 – August 21, 2021
Richard Alan Lawson (Rich) moved on to the next chapter in his life from his home in Sunnyvale, Calif. On August 21, 2021 at the age of 86, holding the hand of his devoted 32-year-old wife, Vicky. He left her a love note almost every day they were together. They had a one-of-a-kind love affair as evidenced by her devotion and the words of her heart and poetry to her.
Rich was born in Kansas City, MO in 1935 during the Great Depression. He was predeceased by his parents, Jessie and Wilbur Lawson; his daughter-in-law, Paula; and his older sister, Jane Louise. He loved his three children, Richard Jr of Troy, MI, Karl (Lisa) of Clarkston, MI; and Karsten of Chicago, IL. Rich was especially proud of his grandson, Jack Henry, who lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. He had a special space in his heart for his sister-in-law and her husband, Mary Lou & Bret Waller; and best friends, Nanette, Dan, Rock, Steve and Mitch.
Rich grew up in a small town in Missouri and as a child he spent time with his dog hiking and exploring farms and woods. His favorite hobbies were playing the piano, reading and writing poetry. The music intoxicated Rich and he thought one day he could become a composer.
Rich’s first real job was as an engineer for Ford Motor Company. After earning his MA in Literature from Wayne State University, however, he pursued his dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. His first teaching position in Michigan was at Roeper City & Country School, an innovative school for gifted children. Twelve years later, he moved to California and found his perfect job at the Nueva Center for Learning in Hillsbourgh. Her favorite subject was teaching her students to write. He felt it was an important part of their education and their life. He was drawn to the power of words and discovered that his days were never quite over unless he put pen to paper. He found that writing took up a certain place in her life and treated her like a friend.
Rich has always loved to play and play. His most famous and inspiring role was as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at the Nueva Center for Learning, where he brought all his improvisational and professional skills to use for his long-standing role. A truly amazing teacher, he wrote 12 dramatic musicals usually based on folk or fairy tales with original songs and music so that students could show off their special talents. As a testament to his dedication to his profession, Rich was honored as the semi-finalist of Disney Teacher of the Year in 1994. He touched and inspired the lives of so many students and their parents with his multiples. skills and talents. He showed his students how to laugh, how to savor their creativity, and how to love writing and language.
After his retirement, Rich continued his love of poetry by writing and participating in numerous poetry readings, lectures, and workshops. One of his poems was included in the book, A Passion for Teaching. In 2012, Rich himself published his first book, The Tree in the Middle of the Playground, on writing and understanding poetry. In 2015, her second book, Something about Missouri, was published. Rich showed his love everyday with his sweet disposition, kind words and nice sense of humor. He will be dearly missed but will always be etched in our memories and celebrated in our hearts.
Rich wrote an early obituary, which included: “I hope those I let down and disappointed, those I was not nice to, and those I was unable to reach forgive me … Some things I will miss classical music, jazz, reading, poetry and movies. I will miss the martinis, the chocolate and the good coffee. I will miss my children and my grandson. I will especially miss my wife, Vicky . ”
In lieu of flowers, you can donate in memory of Rich Lawson to KDFC, Rich’s favorite classical music station. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle September 3-5, 2021.