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William Lawson
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William Edmonds ‘Bill’ Lawson, 86, died on Wednesday, Dec. 15 surrounded by family.

He was born to Kenneth and Norma Lawson in Neenah, Wisconsin, where he grew up. He lived in Modesto and Oakdale for many years and recently moved to Smithfield, NC to live with his daughter, Sally Carpenter.

Mr. Lawson attended the University of Wisconsin and Lawrence University where he received his BS degree. While in college, he won both a Midwest Conference Championship and a Big Ten title in Cross Country and Track. In 2005 he traveled to Wisconsin to be inducted into the Lawrence University Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on the cross country and track teams.

He served as an Ensign in the Navy during World War II.

He married Jean Kuchenbecker in 1948 and they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2008. He was a devoted father and grandfather and enjoyed his many friends.

He had a strong faith that sustained him through his life and was an active member of the church. He enjoyed coaching Little League baseball, bowling, playing bridge and hearts, pitching horseshoes, camping, the ocean and traveling to many state and national parks.

He was passionate about distance running and ran in many 5k and 10k races, completed a marathon, as well as 26 Bay to Breakers races in San Francisco. He was a longtime member of the Shadow Chase Running Club. He was also a member of the Turlock Horseshoe Club where he helped stage tournaments and enjoyed competing for the club.

After retiring from a full career with the American Can Company, he raised walnuts, apples, and cherries for 25 years in Escalon and Oakdale.

He is survived by his children, Jack (Chanthavien) Lawson, Dr. Sally L. Carpenter, Judy (Randy) Lewis, James (Kathy) Lawson; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Kuchenbecker Lawson; and daughter, Joan Lawson Paxton.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Oakdale Christian Church, 330 Maxwell Ave., Oakdale.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Oakdale Christian Church, or to Optimal Hospice, 122 W. Granger Ave., Modesto, CA 95350.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

Jan. 12, 2011