May 17, 1919 – August 10, 2014
Born in Toronto, Bill’s career as a social worker with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind meant moves to London ON, Ottawa, and Hamilton before his retirement as Personnel Director for Ontario in Toronto, his home town. In retirement Bill used his skills to fundraise for the John Milton Society, he was President from 1997 to 2000 and to maintain ties with retirees from CNIB through planning annual regional luncheons in Ontario. Since the 1970’s he has had an interest in personal computers–joining a local club at the library for those who owned Timex/Sinclair computers. The group finally became quite elite when members filtered to only a few, meeting in each others’ homes. Bill loved to sail when he had the chance, to camp, to read. He’d gladly wash dishes when somebody fed him. He walked every day for the past 30 years, dressed for the weather. Friends always welcomed Bill’s cheery nature and whistle. Following his wife Margaret’s lead, Bill made many friends from around the globe at a weekly conversation group for those learning English as a second language. Bill was predeceased by his dear wife Margaret in 2012. They were married for 69 years. He leaves so many memories for his four children and their families: Bill of Burlington, Peter of Toronto, Wendy of Dundas, and Steve of Auckland NZ, 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. The family values the love and companionship Bill received from his dear friend Letty. A service celebrating Bill’s life will be held at St. Paul’s United Church, 29 Park Street, West, Dundas. Family and friends are welcome on Thursday August 28 at 2 pm.
He was the most wonderful Grandpa! I have too many loving memories to share them all. A few key memories would include hearing him whistle while he walked, worked away at something, or simply did the dishes – with the most cheerful disposition! I always loved how he would tell us that he’d have to check with the boss (Grandma). Being the youngest grandchild in Canada I would have to leave the party to go to bed the earliest, but I was encouraged as it meant Grandpa would come upstairs and tell me the story of Nubby Tope the Mole – my favourite! I’m very thankful that I was lucky enough to have such a wonderful role model, friend, and Grandpa! He will be missed dearly!
And he was a wonderful Uncle! I don’t ever recall seeing Uncle Bill without a smile. He told the best stories though I missed hearing Nubby Tope the Mole (!) and he always was truly happy to take the time to visit. Uncle Bill’s and Aunt Margaret’s faith were also a comfort and inspiration and I knew I could pick up the phone, especially in those last months when Carolyn and I were taking care of our dad (Bill Gillanders, Aunt Margaret’s brother) and they’d always say just the right thing to keep our spirits up. They were always available to lend a helping hand or a wise and compassionate word. I know my dad sincerely loved the time they came out and visited with him on Vancouver Island, with Wendy as chauffeur and tour guide! Visits home to Ontario in future will be bittersweet without Uncle Bill. Our love to all, Valerie and Lester Andrews
Trying to find the words to describe what a singularly special person Uncle Bill was in so many ways to so many people over the 95 years we were blessed to have him with us is difficult, if not well nigh impossible. He was always so full of life and vitality, interested and involved enthusiastically in so many things in life and such a kind, gentle man to all who knew him. I can hear his cheery greeting now on the other end of the phone, as I tell him who it is, saying, “And how’s Carolyn?”. I will miss that so much. And we were all bursting with pride when he was honoured with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal! I know how deeply he and Aunt Margaret loved and depended on each other and what a void there was when she was no longer there at his side. When I think of Uncle Bill and remember him, it will be with love and gratitude for all he was and all he meant. It is a privilege for us to honour and celebrate his life. He will be profoundly missed.
I was introduced to Mr. Lawson through his daughter, Wendy, whom I met during our teenaged years. I think the first time I actually met him was at the family home in Ancaster and he was busy digging in the basement/crawlspace. I was a naive young person and couldn’t understand how someone who was visually challenged could be doing that. Over the years I learned that there wasn’t much that Mr. Lawson couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Wendy and I have been scrapbooking buddies for a number of years now and I have so enjoyed the stories and photos about her family’s life, always impressed and envious of the family that her parents had created and nurtured. Mr. Lawson was a very special man and I wish that every family could have its own “Bill Lawson”. The world would be a much better place.
It was my pleasure to know Margaret and Bill at The Donway Covenant United Church. We have missed their presence and cheery greetings. I wish to extend my sincere sympathy to all members of his family at Bill’s death. His contributions to the church and society have been appreciated and will long be remembered.
I met Bill in his later years, on my visits to Frank Chennells and Wendy. He was a real inspiration to me, with his tales of “The Old Days” – and how I laughed at his jokes. Bill, you were a true Christian and I shall miss you very much. I am proud to have known you.
Bill and Margaret- were ever-present longtime members of the Donway Covenant United Church in Don Mills where each Sunday they would warmly meet and greet the other congregants. I was always impressed with how lovingly Bill cared for Margaret. One of my favourite memories was seeing Bill walk out of the Church after a Service, go to the Lawson’s car in the parking lot, open the driver’s seat, get into the car, start the car and then carefully escort Margaret into the driver’s seat before he walked around the car and got into the passenger seat. He was gallant and thoughtful and caring. Bill was a very special person in many ways. He will be missed! My sincere sympathy to all of the Lawson family.
I only met Bill and Margaret a couple of times when visiting Canada with my friend Denise Chennells as we came to visit Wendy and Frank. It was always a pleasure and delight to meet and talk with Bill as he had so many interesting stories of his life and the many developments that happened during his lifetime, It was a delight to listen to him talking and it was indicative of his abilities that he was able to take on those changes. I know he will be very much missed by family and friends.
I met Bill at the Donway Covenant United Church. Bill’s wife Margaret and my wife Stella were both involved in the ESL classes at our church. When more instructors were required we volunteered our services. Before the start of the ESL classes each Wednesday, Bill and I had many pleasant chats about various subjects. I found out that Bill had a computer. I had just purchased my first computer and I had a few questions. He helped me a lot in solving some of my problems. As a matter of fact, he gave me the name of the company through which he got access to the internet. I signed up with the same company. It was great and only cost eighty dollars per year. It was SLOW.
Bill was a good friend and I enjoyed his company and his many stories. I will miss him.
My condolences to his extended family on the loss of a special person.