Dr. James Vernon Lawton passed away peacefully on June 28, 2023, at the age of 92, after a valiant fight against dementia.
Jim was born on Dec. 6, 1930, in Hillsboro, Wis., to John and Cora Lawton. His father passed away when he was only 6 years old. His mother raised an accomplished family, all of whom were very generous with their services to help people in need. Dr. Lawton was no exception. He served the community of New London as a well-respected dentist with a thriving practice for 35 years, where he also served as Rotary president. Prior to this, he served his country in the Air Force for four years.
James graduated from Viroqua (Wis.) High School. He was an incredible athlete in his younger days, lettering each year in football, baseball and basketball. He went on to graduate from UW-Madison and Marquette Dental School, all while supporting a growing family. And he never met a trout stream that he didn’t think was a challenge!
James was blessed in marriage with two amazing women. He married his high school sweetheart, Lois Peterson, with whom he had four children and a very fulfilled life. After Lois passed, he married Alice Norby in 1994 and had another 29 years of adventures, laughter and love. Alice came with a large family, which embraced Jim as much as he embraced them.
Jim’s loving nature and positive attitude persevered until the day he died. He was grateful for all the loving care given to him by all his caregivers.
Jim is survived by his children from his first marriage; Nancy (Craig) Lawton-Shirley, Michael (Tara) Lawton, Mark (Sue Schmid) Lawton and Paul Lawton, as well as eight stepchildren who he loved and embraced: Richard (Roberta) Norby, Mark (Kat) Norby, Marguerite Norby, Mary Behm (Norby), Joseph (Juli) Norby, Connie Norby (Scott Beckman), John Norby and Kathleen Norby (Joe Luther). The blended families were blessed with 108 grandchildren and great grandchildren … there was not a shortage of love with his family.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wives, his brothers John, Richard and Ben, and his sister Ruthie Sours.
A celebration of an amazing life will be held July 30 at Lake Emily County Park, West Lodge, 3968 Park Drive, Amherst Junction, Wis., from 12:00-3:00 p.m.
Memorials can be made in Jim’s name to his granddaughter Lisa’s non-profit Cares Connected (Lisa Shirley, Cares Connected, 237 Cove Lane, Hudson, WI 54016), which empowers adults with disabilities with leadership opportunities.