David Mayoh Lawton of Portsmouth, R.I., and East Chop passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, Sept. 5, 2020. He was loved and is greatly missed by his wife of 54 years, Judy (Hartley) Lawton, his family, and his many friends.
Dave was born on January 24, 1936, in Providence to Charles Hamilton Lawton and Sarah Mayoh Lawton. He spent his early years in Pawtucket with his sisters Suzanne (Jeffers; deceased) and Carolyn (Volmer). Dave attended the Moses Brown School (’54), and went on to study at Brown University, where he graduated in the class of 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science.
After attending Brown University, Dave enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, attaining the rank of sergeant. He served in the 309th Transportation Company (Heavy Truck) unit, and was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Dave joined his family business, C.H. Lawton & Son, an agency specializing in real estate and insurance. He served on the board, and a term as president, of the Pawtucket Board of Realtors. Amidst an active career of many years, one highlight for him was that he was part of early efforts to leverage technology in real estate, and participated in the committee that created the statewide Multiple Listing Service. Additionally, Dave was a certified general commercial and residential appraiser. Dave served on the tax board of review for 25 years while residing in Lincoln, R.I., and ultimately as Lincoln’s tax assessor for two years, before retiring in 2002 when he moved to Portsmouth.
Dave had infinite interests. Many lifelong passions centered around, or were cultivated by, his time spent on Martha’s Vineyard. He spent every summer of his 84 years on East Chop until this summer, when the pandemic kept him watching the boats go by in Portsmouth. From his earliest days, Dave enjoyed boating, beginning with sailboats and racing, and later powerboats and fishing. He loved spending time at the beach, reading and chatting with friends and teaching his children, and then his grandchildren, to swim over the years. Dave supported the East Chop community any way he could, and enjoyed his time serving on the boards and various volunteer committees at the clubs.
Other deep interests included all things cars and auto racing. He loved to fix cars, race cars, watch cars race, and build cars. He also enjoyed carpentry and woodworking, with a major source of pride being his blue ribbon in the M.V. Agricultural Fair in the toy category for his model of the ferry boat Katama. He was always busy with projects big and small, and was happy to help others and draw on his many talents.
Dave was quiet, but always had plenty to say when engaged in conversation. He was interesting, wise, patient, and the first person to call when advice, support, or help was needed. Dave was a consummate gentleman, a devoted husband, an incomparable father, and a loving grandfather.
Dave leaves behind his wife, Judith (Hartley) Lawton, son David Jr. and wife Jeanne (Norton) Lawton of New Providence, N.J., and daughter Pamela Lawton Jacobi and husband John Jacobi of Bridgewater and Londonderry, Vt. He was predeceased by his son Craig Hartley Lawton (age 7). Dave was PopPop to grandchildren Tyler, Connor, and Cara Lawton, and Molly and Jake Jacobi. He was so very proud, and loved them all.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, there are no memorial events at this time. The family plans a private graveside service and a memorial gathering during the summer of 2021. Online tributes can be left at memorialfuneralhome.com.