In Memory

Donald Lawson - Class Of 1942

Donald Lawson

Born in New York on November 14, 1924, Don lived a life that will be remembered for who he was as much as what he had accomplished.  His polished professionalism combined with his integrity, a caring for others, delightful humor and an adventurous spirit to lay a path for a life lived, well lived.

Don graduated in 1942 from South Pasadena High School after which he joined the Navy and served in World War II.  Upon his return, Don enrolled in Occidental College and met lifelong friends in the Sigma Epsilon fraternity while attaining a BA in History.  Don's educational journey continued at the University of Colorado.  In 1953 he earned his master's degree in business as well as marrying the mother of his children, Marilyn Yensen.  Determined to assure his legacy and a fruitful career, Don went on to Ohio State, securing his Doctorate in Philosophy in Business and Economics.  In 1956 he moved his growing family to San Diego where he was hired as Assistant Professor Marketing at San Diego State. He later became a professor of marketing and chairman of the marketing department at San Diego State.  He organized the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and served as its Director.  Don was also one of the charter organizing members of the San Diego Chapter of the American Marketing Association and served a year as its president.  He especially enjoyed serving on the La Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission.  He was also carrying on a personal business in marketing research for San Diego business enterprises.

Finding San Diego a metropolis, Don accepted a position as an associate professor of business in 1965 at Humboldt State University believing that by relocating his family to Blue Lake he would find a better place to raise his children; sons James, Mathew (who predeceased him), and daughters Jan, Elizabeth, and Patricia.  The beautiful rural community proved to fulfill his wishes.  Drawing on his past experience, Don's career took a different, interesting, and diverse path.  The HSU president asked Don to reorganize and manage the Humboldt State Foundation through which contracts for the university on research, public service, and other things ran through.  Upon completion, he accepted new assignments that were in need of resolution; food service, computing, planning and development, plant operations, and a number of other things.  Don found this fun and rewarding.  He also served as a full professor, Director of Institutional Studies, interim vice president of Administrative Affairs and Executive Dean.  He served on numerous committees on the HSU campus, represented the University on the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, and on the Humboldt County Economic Development Commission.  Don had a lot of rewarding experiences, but the one that pleased him the most was fully adapting the campus for the handicapped, even before OSHA was in existence.  

He met his second wife and love of his life, Rose Burman.  His life was tremendously enriched by considering Rose and her children as his own family and was accepted to be part of theirs.  Don often expressed his appreciation for the Burman family filling his life with joy, love, and companionship for 31 years.  Don retired from the position of Director of Physical Services at HSU in 1987, after which time he and Rose enjoyed traveling to Peru, Bolivia, the Caribbean, and Italy.  Don was an avid golfer, enjoyed many years at Baywood Golf Club and Eureka Golf Club.  He had many happy times with friends and with friends at Dinner Club, Elk's Club, and Country Club at Golden Gate, Carlotta.  He was also a member of California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association.

Eureka Times-Standard, April 28, 2013