Dorothy May Lawson: 1918 — 2013 | Passages

Right, Dorothy Lawson is honored by Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher, left, and the town with a
Right, Dorothy Lawson is honored by Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher, left, and the town with a 'Dorothy Lawson Day' proclamation, Dec. 17, 2010.
— image credit: Journal file photo

Dorothy May Lawson passed away peacefully in the early hours of May 16, 2013, just one day short of her 95th birthday.

She was a fourth-generation islander and one of five children born to Edward and Esther Dougherty on May 17, 1918 in Friday Harbor. She grew up in the family home on the westside of the island where both of her parents were employed at the Cowell Limekiln, her father a cooper and her mother a cook. The family lived through the Great Depression by working hard and knowing how to make ends meet.

Dorothy was united in marriage to John R. Lawson, who also was born and raised on San Juan Island. They had two daughters, Jo Ann and Catherine, and together, they ran their family farm on Cattle Point Road, which included sheep, cattle, chickens, and geese.

In addition to being a homemaker and helping with the farm, Dorothy worked for many years as a switchboard operator for the local telephone company. John also worked in logging and bulldozing and built many of the ponds on the island. With hard work ethics always intact, they took care and provided well for their family and extended families.

In December of 1983, John passed away and Dorothy eventually sold the farm and moved into town where she resided until December 2010, when she moved to Mount Vernon to live with daughter Catherine.

She was an accomplished toile painter, crafter and talented needle worker, crocheting many beautiful intricately patterned doilies for friends and family. For nearly 30 years, she was director of the Friday Harbor Food Bank and served as president. She was recognized by the American Red Cross as a “Real Hero” for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Food Bank and was honored in April 2009 in a regional award ceremony in Anacortes.

The annual Dorothy Lawson Food Drive was originally organized by the San Juan County Realtors Association and later named in her honor. She was named Citizen of the Year in 2010, and Mayor Carrie Lacher proclaimed Dec. 17, 2010 as Dorothy Lawson Day, as she officially retired from her duties at the Food Bank.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Esther Dougherty, husband John R. Lawson, brothers Ernest Dougherty and Edward J. Dougherty, sisters Josephine Dougherty and Edna Johnson.

She is survived by her daughters Jo Ann (Nick) DeAngelis, Spokane and Catherine Ferguson, Mount Vernon; granddaughters Dolly Lawson, Mount Vernon; Vicki (John) Schwartz, New Jersey; grandsons Heath (Lara) Ray, Friday Harbor and John Toomajan, Issaquah; great granddaughters Rusty (Chris) Sherlock, Friday Harbor; Amanda Toomajan, Spokane; Abby Ray, Camano Island; Michelle Gee, New Jersey; MacKenzie Schwartz, New Jersey; great grandsons J.B. Hamstra, Friday Harbor, and Jordan Toomajan, Issaquah; several great-great grandchildren; sister-in-law Geraldine Lawson, Friday Harbor; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Beloved by family and friends, Dorothy will be missed by many. At her request, there will be no service.

— Family of Dorothy Lawson


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates