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Paul F. Lawler November 12, 1913 – August 27, 2007

My grandfather died on Monday. I’ve had a couple of draft posts about his illness, his care, and the way it has affected me and my family. I may publish them later, who knows.

Below is the text of the pamphlet at his wake. Read it, please, and see what an amazing life he had. The wake was today, and the funeral is tomorrow. Also, my uncle collected and scanned dozens of photos of my grandfather. The best of them are printed on three different tabblos you can see here, here, and here.

Paul F. Lawler was born on November 12, 1913, shortly before the outbreak of World War 1. He was the son of John Frederick Lawler and Anna E. Krim Lawler, who later had two more children, Richard and Anna.

Paul was brought up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, at a time when the area was full of 1st- and 2nd-generation Irish, Russians, and Germans. He loved to tell stories about happy summers at the beach at Nantasket and about camp on Sunset Lake in New Hampshire.

Paul won a place at the competitive Boston Latin School and was an enthusiastic participant in Latin School affairs for the rest of his life. Like many of his classmates, he went on to Harvard, where he majored in math and graduated cum laude in 1935. He spent two years at the Harvard Business School, earning his MBA in 1937.

Later Paul was a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School. During World War II, he worked there on classified military research projects and on planning for the transition to a post-war economy.

Paul was a fine athlete, who treasured the trophies he won at track, gymnastics, and swimming. He kept fit all his life. During the 1950s and 1960s, long before jogging was popular; he ran the half-mile to the train station each day. He did push­ups each day, sometimes in the office, until he was in his 90s.

Paul and Mary Alberta Collins were introduced by mutual friends and married in 1941. They were a devoted couple for nearly 66 years, and their family and friends loved watching them laugh together. They had six children: Frances, Ellen, Elizabeth, Mary, Philip, and John. The children remember Paul telling stories, leading Sunday afternoon trips to the Museum of Fine Arts or the beach, helping with Latin home­work . . . and always insisting that the Christmas tree not be put up until Christmas Eve.

Paul’s business career emphasized financing commercial real estate. For many years he worked at Cardinal Realty, deploying investors’ funds in hotels, office buildings, and some of the country’s first shopping centers; and then managing these properties. Paul then started National Realty, where he was the court-appointed trustee for ITT in the landmark antitrust case of the early 1970s. His last business enterprise was Shawmut Research Company, where he continued working in real estate finance.

Paul contributed consistently to his community; he was a town meeting member for many years and a member of local boards and commissions. During the 1970s, at the time of the country’s bicentennial celebration, he became actively involved in reenactments of events from the colonial era and the American Revolution.

Always a prayerful Catholic whose faith was central to his life, over the years Paul was active in the Holy Name Society, the Legion of Mary, and the Nocturnal Adoration Society. During the 1970s he developed a great love for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and in 1982 he was ordained a deacon at the Annunciation Melkite Cathedral in Boston. After years of faithful service there, he was raised to the status of Protodeacon. He also became chancellor of the Melkite Newton Eparchy (diocese), and served in that position until the time of his death.

Paul and Mary Lawler became grandparents 37 years ago, and would eventually have 13 grandchildren: Myles and Rita Conley; Dan, Tim, and Jeremy Dunn; Carl Wickstrom; and Nicholas, Mary Rosaleen, Suzanne, Joseph, Deirdre, William, and Bridget Lawler.

Paul went to the hospital with an ear infection in July, suffered pneumonia and other complications, and died very peacefully on August 27, 2007, at the age of 93. May he live in the arms of the good God who gave him a long and vigorous life.

November 12, 1913 – August 27,2007


Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » What’s Going On
Time: October 11, 2007, 12:31 am

[…] As you know, Grandpa died in August. The world goes on, of course, but differently than before. There’s stress and uncertainty about Grandma living alone, about the house, etc. that causes stress for his children, and then his grandchildren. This isn’t a new story; I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. That doesn’t make it any easier. I continue to think about the care he received, and the questions aren’t going away. The hospital promised to look into it. I’m waiting to hear what they say. And I miss him. […]

Pingback from Dan Dunn’s Podium » Life Update
Time: October 28, 2008, 10:29 pm

[…] Grandpa died a bit more than a year ago.  It’s been a process as the family convinces itself (and […]