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1935 Thomas Larry Lawson 2023

Thomas Larry Lawson

January 5, 1935 — August 21, 2023

Mesquite, Nevada

Thomas Larry Lawson walked into heaven on August 21, 2023 at the age of 88. He was born January 5, 1935 to James Riley and Gladys (Hodges) Lawson in Oklahoma City. He is the last to pass in a family of three girls and two boys: Jennie Beaty, Peggy Faubion, Shirley Jackson, and Stanley “Buddy” Lawson.
 
Larry’s mechanical genius was evident from a young age, as he would disassemble toasters, bikes, cars, and motors just to understand how they worked, always successfully reassembling them. His journey in the world of hard work began at the young age of 14 when he started working in the oil fields alongside his father, "Screaming Jimmy" Lawson. This early experience instilled in him a robust work ethic that would shape his lifetime.
 
Larry had a deep love for his country and enlisted in the Marines on September 1, 1953 when he was 18. He joined the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines - 1st Marine Division and was deployed to the Korean war front. He left the service as a corporal, having earned three medals: the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. Despite his valor, Larry rarely spoke about his wartime experiences.
 
On April 30, 1955, Larry married his high school sweetheart, Erna Dee Horner. Their family began to grow when they welcomed their first child, Lorraine Lee, at Camp Pendleton. They returned to Oklahoma in 1956, where Larry resumed working in the oil fields with his father. Three more children followed in quick succession: Kale, Jolene, and Kennabeth. The children fondly remember their times picking pecans and bean-pole fishing at Grandpa's farm.
 
When the oil industry faced a downturn, Larry relocated his family to Grandview, MO. Always an optimist, he believed there was a path forward. At the suggestion of his father-in-law, Shelby Horner, Larry joined the Iron Workers Local #10 in Kansas City in 1961. He found employment with various steel companies in the Midwest, including Butler and Havens Steel where he was a superintendent and dedicated eight years to the company.
 
Larry was an entrepreneur at heart. He purchased a Tornado Shelter Foosball Hall as a part-time hobby, which proved to be so successful that he expanded to three locations, consuming all of his time. Eventually, he sold the foosball halls profitably and ventured into homebuilding. He established Lawson Homes in a small Grandview subdivision. However, when interest rates skyrocketed to 18%, he made the decision to exit the homebuilding business. Larry and Erna Dee started attending the Grandview Assembly of God Church and became active members.
 
Larry's true passion lay in structural steel. In 1984, with limited funds, he founded Lawson Steel Erection Company in Kansas City, MO. Starting with a small team of family members operating from "the barn,” he later moved operations to a large facility in Belton, growing Lawson Steel into one of the most recognized companies in the region. Just a few of his notable projects include the B-2 bomber hangars at Whiteman Air Force Base, three Nordstrom department stores, Lighton Plaza buildings 1-3, Zona Rosa shopping center, United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Riley, and the Abrams overhaul tank basin at Fort Riley. Larry was a legend in the steel industry, earning respect for his honesty, project coordination, ability to meet deadlines, and knack for turning a profit. After 40 years of dedicated service, he retired as a longtime member of Iron Workers Local #10.
 
During their empty-nest years, Larry and Erna Dee took up golf and joined the Loch Lloyd Country Club. In 1995, they acquired a second home in Mesquite, Nevada, joined the Oasis Country Club, and embraced the life of snowbirds. Erna Dee passed away in 2003 after 48 years of marriage.
 
In 2005, Larry's path crossed with Linda Nelden in Mesquite, Nevada. A mere three days after their initial meeting, sparks flew between them. Both shared a love for golf and an enthusiasm for living life to the fullest. Larry wholeheartedly embraced Linda's children, treating them as his own. For 18 years, he expressed his love for Linda daily. Together, they split their time between Mesquite, Park City, Utah, and Kansas City.
 
Larry was an adventurer at heart, relishing road trips, family visits, and golf tournaments. Larry had an affinity for the outdoors, enjoying golfing, fishing, skiing, ATVing, shooting, swimming, and the beach. He had a keen sense of rhythm and loved music and dancing, although he couldn't carry a tune. He adored cowboy movies, particularly those starring John Wayne. Larry was known for his generosity, frequently extending a helping hand to people and charities. He had a passion for play, gambling, and fast cars. In his own words, "Boy Howdy! I never had a boring life."
 
Larry leaves behind his loving partner, Linda Nelden, her children, Laura and Charlie (Angie), and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his children Kale Lawson (Sue), Jolene (Jeff) Achten, and Kennabeth (Raymond) Zullig, nine grandchildren, and 23 great grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents, siblings, wife Erna Dee, and daughter Lorraine Lee Thurman.
 
Services to celebrate Larry's life will take place on Saturday, September 9, at Park Lawn Funeral Home, located at 8251 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City, MO. A visitation will commence at 12:00 pm, followed by services at 1:00 pm and burial at Memorial Park Cemetery.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Larry Lawson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, September 9, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 9, 2023

1:00 - 2:30 pm (Central time)

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Burial

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Memorial Park And Green Lawn

8251 Hillcrest Rd, Kansas City, MO 64138

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