James (Jim, a.k.a. "Diamond Jim") Everett Lawson, 87, peacefully passed away in Kernersville, NC, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in the afternoon while sitting in his favorite outdoor chair with his beloved dog, Pepe.
He was born in Derby, VA, the son of Hargis (H.H.) and Lily Lawson. As a young man he proudly served in the Korean War aboard the Aircraft Carrier, USS Saipan (CVL-48). After completing his service, he pursued a career in higher education and earned his doctorate in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), and moved to Johnson City, TN with his beautiful wife, Barbara Kindernay Lawson.
He was a professor of biology, anatomy, and physiology for 33 years at East TN State University. While in Johnson City he was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and resided in Seminole Woods neighborhood.
After his wife of 44 years passed, he relocated to Kernersville, NC to be close to his children and six grandchildren whom he loved dearly. Jim was such an integral part of his grandchildren's lives that they coined the phrase, "Call Papa", if they ever needed anything.
Jim loved life. He loved the ocean, and especially the warm weather. He was a diehard UT Vols and Washington Redskins fan and would spend his Fall weekends cheering them on. He always enjoyed sharing a meal with family or friends and was famous for his holiday hams!!
Jim was an extremely dedicated husband, Father, friend, and Papa. Words cannot express how much he will be missed. He is survived by his two children, Patricia Lawson Merritt and Thomas James Lawson and their spouses Mark and Michelle; his grandchildren, Michael, Mitchell, Bradley, and Grayson Merritt, and Ryan and Emma Lawson; his sister, Nancy Coffman; and his dear companion, Katharine Keller.
A celebration of life will be held in the spring in Big Stone Gap, VA, where he will be placed next to his wife, Barbara. Jim's favorite hymn was, "Amazing Grace" - "Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found - was blind, but now I see. 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home."
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Multiple Systems Atrophy Organization,
https://www.multiplesystematrophy.org/ , or to the Veteran's Administration, https://www.volunteer.va.gov/apps/VolunteerNow/
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