Ernest Lawson, 82, of Science Hill, passed away Thursday, August 26, 2021 at his residence.
He was born December 16, 1938 in Hamilton, Ohio; son of the late Milton & Cora (Owens) Lawson.
As a child, his father held regular family "singings"; and because of this, he was later known for his singing vocal power and range. His mother, who was a voracious reader, gave him the love for reading books.
He was a veteran of the United States Air Force. Tested to have an aptitude of foreign languages, he was trained to understand Mandarin and German. He also worked and wrote programs for one of the First IBM computer systems.
After his military service, he studied for his Master's Degree in Theology from Eastern Baptist Bible Institute in Somerset, Kentucky while he served as the Pastor at Saline Baptist Church. He then served at the Milford Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio before beginning his missionary work in Japan. His language aptitude helped him learn the Japanese idioms that many other foreigners missionaries missed. His willingness to try any food once, made him quite popular as he liked some things that even some Japanese would admit that they would not eat. He seemed to immerse himself head first in any culture he entered.
From 1968 thru 1990, he helped organize the Dazaifu Baptist Church and Tento Baptist Church, both in southwestern Japan. In 1991 he moved and worked until his 2002 return to the United States in Shimodate, part of central Japan . He worked on building projects at all three church mission points. From 2002 until 2017 he traveled back and forth with the Japan Missionary Baptist Seminary. During this time he was in another church building/remodeling project where his daughter Debbie was living. He continued teaching Bible school classes via the internet until 2018.
He especially loved working with Japanese teenagers, and was always willing to help those in need. He was known for not being able to say no to cries of help; to the chagrin of his children on occasions. He had the more the merrier attitude. He was the official cook for the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey where he opened up his house for other missionaries to join the festivities. He would later repeat the same process for potluck dinners in the Japanese churches.
He was always prepared for visitors. He actually did better when people visited more than getting rest during his hospital stays. He thrived being part of a team. One of his regrets was that he had not moved into the area of his home church Flatwoods Baptist Church. Next to his nuclear family, church family was most important.
The family wishes to express a special thanks to the four churches from which he was sent to Japan: the Twinbrook Baptist Church of Hamilton, Ohio, Oaklawn Missionary Baptist Church of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Magnolia Springs Baptist Church of Theodore, Alabama, Flatwoods Baptist Church of Mountain View Arkansas. Also special gratitude needs to be expressed to the West Somerset Baptist Church, Science Hill Baptist Church, East Somerset Baptist Church, and a host of other churches too numerous to mention, for their care and support of Ernest Lawson.
He is survived by Ruby Jane (Shelton) Lawson, to whom he was married on December 23, 1957; three children, Ernest & (Rosa) Lawson, Jr., Tim Lawson, and Debbie & (Toshio) Koibuchi; two sisters, Irma Ridenour and Brenda & (James) Garland; a sister-in-law, L. Marie Lawson; and five grandchildren, Ernest Lawson, III, J. Eric Lawson, Melody & Brandi, and Joe Koibuchi. He also called Kunihiko "Kuni" Ohba, whom he had known from preschool, his "Japanese Grandson".
He is preceded in death by his parents; three older brothers, Kenneth & (Euleen) Lawson, Thurman Lawson, who died in infancy; Velmer Lawson, a younger brother, Patrick Lawson; an older sister, Evelyn Thomas; and a grandchild, Alisha Dawn.
Services for Mr. Ernest Lawson will be held by the family at East Somerset Baptist Church. All who wish to honor a friend's home going are welcome to attend.
Morris & Hislope Funeral Home is honored to assist the family with arrangements.