In Memory

Richard Riach Lawton - Class Of 1939

Richard Riach Lawton

Richard (Dick) Lawton passed away on July 13, 2012 in Visalia, California at the age of 91.  Born on February 1, 1921 in San Francisco, he later moved to South Pasadena in the 1930s with his family.

Dick served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II and served in the South Pacific on the Pelieu Islands.  After serving his country, he worked for the Chevron Oil Company in Los Angeles and married Elizabeth Thompson in 1948.  Dick and Betty, with their two sons, Steve and Bruce, arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1954 when Dick took over the Standard Oil distributorship in Los Olivos.  In the years to come he would also become the distributor of Standard Oil (Chevron) products in Lompoc.

Dick loved to travel and learn more about our country.  He especially loved the Sierras and shared his knowledge about history and wonders of nature on many camping trips with his family.  Dick was very interested in history and continued his father's interest in collecting antiques.  He became an antique gun collector and later would have a reputation as an expert on the firearms of the 1800s.  In addition, he occasionally took on the challenge of refinishing and restoring antique furniture.  Dick had extensive involvement in the community of Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley.  He served in the Rotary Club for 43 years; was a member and served as Post Commander of the American Legion, served on the College School Board and was involved with the Santa Ynez Historical Society and Museum in its early years.

Dick and Betty left the Santa Ynez Valley for Visalia to live near their son, Stephen, and his family in 2003.  After Betty's passing in 2005, Dick became a resident of the Magnolia Park senior care facility.  He was predeceased by his wife, Betty, and son, Bruce.  Dick is survived by his son, Stephen Lawton and wife, Jacqueline of Visalia; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visalia Times-Delta, July 18, 2012