Dunbar Lawson Sr., Captain, USN (Ret), age 90, of Mathews, died on April 7, 2011.
Captain Lawson was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Eastby and Emma Stuart Dunbar Lawson of Moon; his wife, Sally Bet Walker Lawson of Mobjack; his brother, Walter Eastby Lawson Jr. of Quimby, Maine, and his son, Dunbar Lawson Jr. of Mathews C.H.
Captain Lawson was a WWII veteran. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, class of 1943 which was graduated early in 1942. His first orders were to USS UPSHUR (DD-144) which escorted supply convoys along the east coast and across the Atlantic. He requested flight training and was approved and subsequently designated Naval Aviator number P19062 on 30 January 1945. His first squadron assignment was in BOMBER FIGHTER SQUADRON EIGHTY-ONE (VBF-81) flying the F-4U CORSAIR from USS PRINCETON (CV-37) supporting U.S. Marine Corps clean-up operations in the Marianas Islands. He made the 2000th carrier landing on PRINCETON, 4 March 1946. After the war he transitioned into maritime, patrol aircraft, the PBY-5 Catalina and the P2V Neptune. He served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer PATROL SQUADRON ELEVEN (VP-11), Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, July 1957-June 1959. Captain Lawson logged 6,000 pilot hours in his aviation career in 17 different types of Navy aircraft and three Air Force aircraft, the B-17, B-25 and C-47.
In addition to tours in Navy aviation squadrons, Captain Lawson served tours as: Instructor, Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, Duke University, N.C.; Operations Officer, Naval Station Adak, Alaska; Student and Instructor, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.; The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Washington, D.C.; Executive Officer, USS DUXBURY BAY (AVP-38); Team Leader, National Emergency Command Post Afloat (NECPA) (floating White House) embarked in USS WRIGHT (CC-2) and USS NORTHAMPTON (CC-1); Commanding Officer, Naval Investigative Service, New Orleans, La.; and, Commanding Officer, Navy Recreation Command, Naval District, Washington, D.C.
Upon retirement in 1972, with 30 years of service, Captain Lawson served for over 12 years as an EMT with the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad and as a fireman for the Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, Station 2, Bohannon. He was a life member of American Legion Post 83, life member of the West Mathews Community League, past president of the Providence Cemetery Corporation, Cardinal, former member of the Mathews Yacht Club, member of the Retired Officers of Mathews County Association, member of P.O.E.T.S., and an active member of Grace-Providence United Methodist Church, Mobjack, where he served as treasurer, trustee, head usher, and any other position which was not filled. He loved gardening, the East River and Mobjack Bay—sailing, crabbing, oystering, and fishing. However, his greatest love was for his children and his grandchildren and teaching them all the things he knew about the wonderful area known as "Mathews."
He is survived by his daughter, Susan Stuart Lawson McKnight (George) of Cardinal; daughter-in-law, Reed Ryerson Barnes Lawson of Mathews C.H.; five grandchildren, Anna Wright Benevente (Paul), Adrian Eastby Hudgins (Kevin), Emily Dunbar Betz (Joe), Christopher George McKnight (Meghann), Lee Morgan McKnight and nine beautiful great-grandchildren, Rileigh, Avery, Isabella, Morgan, Julia, Adeline, Lydia, Luca, and Lawson.
The family will receive friends Friday, April 15, 2011, from 6-8 p.m. in the Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home, Mathews. Services will be conducted Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m. in the Grace-Providence United Methodist Church, Mobjack. Burial with military honors will follow in Providence Cemetery, Miles, Va.
It is requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 723, Mathews, Va. 23109; Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1130, Mathews, Va. 23109; Grace-Providence United Methodist Church, 84 Grace Street, Mobjack, Va. 23056, West Mathews Community League, Bohannon, Va. 23021 or Mathews Community Foundation, Sally Bet Walker Lawson Fund, P.O. Box 1037, Mathews, Va. 23109.