So the Lord isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. This means that everyone is alive as far as God is concerned. Jesus, Luke 20:38 CEV

Monday, January 22, 2024


Today is the 93rd birthday of my father, William Harris Lawson Sr.

William Harris Lawson Sr.
23 January 1931 - 20 November 2020

Dad managed a shoe store at the time he was called to preach, so he said he "went from soles to souls." Dad and I were both called to preach during Candlelight Communion as we knelt together at the communion rail on Christmas Eve, 1959. We quietly left the church and went home. Dad went into the kitchen for a few minutes to talk with Mom, and when he came out, I went in. I told Mom about the experience, and she called Dad back in. Then she told us both that we had each told her the same story. Soon after, we exchanged nicknames on the staircase; he became Will, and I became Bill. Until his final earthly days, Dad was affectionately known as Rev. Will. 

Conversational prayer was the centerpiece of Dad's pastoral and evangelistic ministry. Even after his passing, people continued to tell me how their lives had been transformed after he taught them to pray conversationally. He was very intentional about prayer. In his later years, he maintained a telephone prayer tree and would follow up rigorously.  

Dad insisted that everyone is welcome at the Communion Table and at the altar in their hearts, regardless of their beliefs, practices, and opinions, even as firmly as he held his own views. Dad had an affinity for ecumenism. He enjoyed participating in meaningful interdenominational and interfaith cooperative endeavors and liked to visit various Christian sacred spaces and those of other religions wherever he lived and traveled.

After retirement from The United Methodist Church, Rev. Will continued to be active in church as long as he was able. He accepted interim pastoral appointments, guest preaching invitations, and local church opportunities. He served as a Chaplain Major in the Air Force Reserves and was a leader in  Lions Clubs International. Dad was a member of Carmel Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, Order of the Eastern Star, Scottish Rite, and York Rite. 

William Harris Lawson Sr. and Barbara Lou Tridle were married on 3 February 1951. They had me and my two sisters, Lynn and Lori. Dad died on 20 November 2020 and was buried at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens. 

Obituary | Find a Grave | Permanent Archive

Lawson Surname Lineage 

Thomas Lawson I 1632-1692, father of  Thomas Lawson II 1655-1714, father of  Thomas Lawson III 1696-1745, father of John Lawson 1725-1793, father of Ralph Lawson 1740-1806, father of James Lawson 1761-1826, father of Robert Henry Lawson Sr. 1806-1875, father of Robert Henry Lawson Jr. 1828-1896, father of Donald James Lawson 1871-1940, father of William Malcolm James Lawson 1908-1967, father of William Harris Lawson Sr. 1931-2020, father of the author.

Lawson Migration

Biggar, Scotland > Northumberland, England > York, Yorkshire, England > London, Middlesex, England > Windsor, Canada > Johnstown, Pennsylvania > Baltimore, Maryland > Brooklyn, New York > Indianapolis, Indiana > Marion, Hamilton, Wayne Allen, Delaware, Fulton, Grant, Kosciusko, Madison, Randolph and Tippecanoe Counties, Indiana > Rochester, Indiana > California > Tennessee > Kentucky. 

Undocumented family lore includes the migration of William Lawson from Biggar, Scotland, sometime prior to the birth of Thomas Lawson I in Northumberland, England, in 1632. Additional undocumented lore includes the family migration sometime between the 1725 death of his great-grandson John Lawson and the 1772 marriage of John's son Ralph Lawson from Northumberland to York, Yorkshire, England, and from there to London, Middlesex, England, prior to the 1802 record of residence for Ralph Lawson. His great-grandson, Robert Henry Lawson, immigrated from London to Windsor, Canada in 1870. My great-grandfather, Donald James Lawson, was born the next year and immigrated at the turn of the century to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where he married my great-grandmother in 1901. After 1906, they moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where my grandfather, William Malcolm James Lawson, was born in 1908. By 1910, the family had moved to Brooklyn, New York, and by 1915, settled in Indianapolis, Indiana, where my father, William Harris Lawson Sr., was born. My grandparents bought and expanded their home, a former toll house with two and a half acres on what is now Westfield Boulevard, at the end of 111th Street, down the road from where my mother grew up. Prior to the ministry, our family lived in Marion, Hamilton, and Wayne Counties. During their church ministry, my parents served communities in Allen, Delaware, Fulton, Grant, Kosciusko, Madison, Randolph, and Tippecanoe Counties before retiring in Rochester, Indiana. I moved from Indiana to California, then Tenessee, then Kentucky.



  •    Ontario | Essex | Windsor 


  • Northumberland
  • North Yorkshire | York
  • Greater London | London | Middlesex


  • South Lanarkshire | Biggar

United States of America

  • Indiana
    • Allen County | Fort Wayne
    • Delaware County | Gaston | Albany | New Burlington
    • Fulton County | Rochester
    • Grant County | Gas City
    • Hamilton County | Carmel 
    • Kosciusko County | Mentone
    • Madison County | Anderson | Perkinsville
    • Marion County | Indianapolis | Broad Ripple
    • Randolph County | Fairview
    • Tippecanoe County | West Lafayette
    • Wayne County | Richmond 
  • Maryland
    • Baltimore County | Baltimore
  • New York
    • Kings | Brooklyn
  • Pennsylvania
    • Cambria County | Johnstown

Family Photo. "William H. Lawson, Sr.," ca. 2015. 


Ancestry ®.  “Indiana, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1907-1944. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Birth Certificates; Year: 1931; Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2015. Ancestry.  Accessed 17 January 2024.

---. "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 for Ralph Lawson," 1806. Probate Date 6 Feburary 1806. Prob 11: Will Registers > 1805-1807 > Piece 1438: Pitts, Quire Numbers 108-159 (1806), Page 297. Operations, Inc., 2015. Ancestry ®. image of will at 17 January 2024.

---. "Public Member Trees Database.” © 1997-2023 Ancestry ®. Lawson-Robertson Family Tree person record for William H. Lawson, Sr.  User profile for William Harris Lawson, Jr., user Livingweb. 17 January 2024.

Carmel Lodge #421 F&AM. "Home." 23 January 2024. Accessed 17 January 2024.

Find a Grave, database, and images ( accessed 17 January 2024), memorial page for Rev William Harris "Will" Lawson  (23 January 1931 - 20 November 2020, Find a Grave Memorial ID 218906940, citing Oaklawn Memorial Gardens, Fishers, Hamilton County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by user christus rex inferorum (contributor 50180202).

Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. "About the Indiana Conference." United Methodist Churches of Indiana Accessed 17 January 2024.

Lions Clubs International. "Home." Lions Clubs International. 17 January 2024.

Order of the Eastern Star. "General Grand Chapter." Order of the Eastern Star. 17 January 2024.

Supreme Council, AASR, NJM, USA. "Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction." Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Accessed 17 January 2024. 

Visit Britain. "York." Accessed 17 January 2024.

Visit Maryland. "Visit Baltimore."  Visit Maryland. Accessed 18 January 2024.

Visit Northumberland. "Northumberland." Northumberland.  17 January 2024.

VisitScotland. "Biggar." Accessed 17 January 2024.

Wikipedia Contributors. "Brooklyn," 18 January 2024. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.  Accessed 18 January 2024.

---. "Fort Wayne, Indiana," 17 January 2024. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.,_Indiana   Accessed 18 January 2024.

---. "Johnstown, Pennsylvania," 5 January 2024. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.,_Pennsylvania  Accessed 18 January 2024.

---. "Perkinsville, Indiana," 17 December 2023. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.,_Indiana   Accessed 18 January 2024.

York Rite. "Official Information." The York Rite of Freemasonry.  Accessed 17 January 2024.


The original date of this post: 23 January 2024, the 93rd birthday of William Harris Lawson, Sr.
Most recently updated on March 11, 2024.