In Memory of




Obituary for Wayne A. Lawson

Wayne Allan Lawson, 94, of Joplin passed away on Sunday, May 14 at his home due to heart issues. He was born February 5, 1929 to Elsie (Perew) and Samuel Ernest Lawson in Fullerton, Nebraska. The family moved to Joplin in 1939, where he graduated from Joplin High School in 1947. Wayne then enlisted in the U.S. Army and served two years in the Phillipines in the Military Police.

Upon returning to Joplin he met Donna June Weaver at a baseball game at Joe Becker Stadium. They married in September 1949 and moved to Arkadelphia, AR so he could attend Ouchita Baptist College (now university) study vocal music. Upon his graduation they returned to Joplin where he accepted a vocal music teaching position in the Webb City school system, a job he held for fourteen years.

During his tenure at Webb City he completed his master’s degree at Kansas State College of Pittsburg, now Pittsburg State University. It was also during this time that he and Donna began their family with a son, Mike (1950) and daughter, Sherry (1952). He also served as Choir Director at Forest Park Baptist Church for many years.

In 1966 he assumed a teaching position in Miami, OK at Miami High School, where he taught four years. The family then returned to Joplin where he taught music at Parkwood and Memorial high schools until his retirement in 1985. He later taught eight years at NEO A&M College in Miami, OK.

Wayne was actively involved in his children’s lives, ensuring that they had appropriate instrumental and vocal music educational experiences. He also coached Mike’s baseball teams for eight years. He was an avid and accomplished fisherman and upland bird hunter, passions he engaged in up until his death. Even into his 90’s he continued to be a great shot, following Mike and his Brittanies, Zeke and Sam, in a side-by-side, getting out to shoot the birds and accept their retrieves, then proceeding on to the next bird. Many thanks to Rex Mercer and Running Roosters Hunting Preserve for making this accommodation that allowed him to continue to hunt.

He also had a passion for genealogy, filling entire albums with the family tree. He and Donna took several trips across the country chasing down their ancestors.

Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Donna, his parents, Elsie and Samuel Lawson and his sister, Ruth (Lawson) Apon. He is survived by two children, Dr. Michael (Becky) Lawson of Webb City and Sherry (Pat) Sullivan, of Lubbock, TX; five nephews, Randy (Dr. Amy) Apon and Lindy (Crystal) Apon of Knoxville, TN, Larry Weaver of Fairfax, VA, Keith (Allison) Weaver of Dallas, TX, Kenneth (Becky) Weaver of Pensacola, FL, a niece; Diane (Tim) Hodgins of Atlanta, GA, and a great niece Erica (Bill) Graham of Dallas, TX; as well as four grandchildren, Brad Potts of Tulsa, OK, Matt (Colleen) Potts of Lubbock, TX, Amy (Scott) Fittje, MD of San Francisco, CA, and Beth (Michael, MD) Oller, MD, of Stockton, Kansas; great-grandchildren Lauren Potts, Megan Potts, Lyla Oller, Maya Oller, Merrick Oller, and Noble Oller, Jaden Potts, Grant Potts, both of Lubbock, Tx.

He leaves a legacy of thousands of former vocal music students; some who simply gained an appreciation for music, some who became music educators themselves, and some who became professional vocalists. He had such a wonderful positive influence on so many lives, and will be sincerely missed.

Pallbearers will be Pat Sullivan, Jaden Potts, Mike Oller, Scott Fittje, Brad Potts and Matt Potts.

Memorial Contributions may be given to Mended Hearts in care of the mortuary.

Funeral services have been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 19, 2023 at Mason-Woodard Chapel, Joplin, Mo. The family will receive friends during a time of visitation prior to the service beginning at 12:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Osborne Cemetery.