Jon Dennis (JD) Lawson, resident of Matthews, NC passed peacefully into the arms of His Savior on 29 Jul 15. He was 69 years old. JD was born to Leonard W. Lawson and Doris Bulleigh Lawson on 6 Jul 46 in Salina, KS. He grew up in Kansas City, KN where he attended Turner High School, received a Bachelor’s degree from Emporia State Teachers College (now Emporia University) in 1968 and a Master’s degree from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX in 1977.
JD had planned to be a teacher but Uncle Sam had other ideas. He was drafted in December 1968 and received a direct commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in September 1969. He was in the active Army for 11 years as a Medical Evacuation helicopter pilot in Vietnam (45th Med. Battalion and 101st Airborne—Eagle Dustoff), Germany (421st Med. Battalion), and at Ft. Campbell, KY. (101st Airborne). Being a Medevac pilot, he risked his life many times to save the lives of those wounded in battle, a demonstration of the selflessness of the Vietnam helicopter pilot. He also served as a company commander at Ft. Sam Houston for Brooke Army Medical Center. He remained in the Army Reserve for another 12 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After leaving active Army, JD served as a nursing home administrator for 20 years in various locations throughout the North Carolina Piedmont region. He then worked for Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte campus primarily in the Virtual Campus for 15 years where his impact on seminary students all over the world was memorable and unselfish.
JD’s passion was ministering to single men and women. He served on the boards of Campus Outreach Charlotte and Johannesburg, South Africa for 10 years. For 16 years, he and his wife hosted singles at their dinner table every Wednesday night, and they had 25 other single men and women live in their home at various times during this season as well. JD was always willing to stop and listen and share his life with everyone who came his way. His legacy of love lives on in the many people whose lives he touched.
JD was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in the fall of 2014. After a swift and hard-fought battle, the Lord has chosen to heal him by bringing him Home. JD continued to touch the lives of all around him, even as he lay in bed at Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster until the day he went to be with Jesus.
For the last 19 years JD has been a member of the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (NCVHPA.org). With this group he attended many air shows, parades, and other events to display their Vietnam era helicopters. Although JD was a Medevac pilot and as such flew Hueys, he towed a LOH (light observation helicopter) for these events. Many of you may have seen it as “yard art” proudly displayed at his home. JD served as chaplain for several years for this organization as well as vice-president and then president for four years. His relationship with this “band of brothers” who share the bond of Vietnam was of great value to him and he considered them family.