In Passing


James Edward Lawton

James Lawton, better known as Jim, was born October 10, 1917, in Hemingford, Quebec, Canada, to John Lawton and Albina Josephine duQuette Lawton. When he was a teenager, he ran the 100-meter dash and hurdles. In 1936, he was .1 of a second from going to the Olympics from Canada.

He had dual citizenship. He moved to San Diego before World War II and worked as a supervisor at General Dynamics where they built the B-17 and B-29 bombers. He was also night manager of the Trianon Ballroom to support his wife and two children. He outlived his wife, both children and his sister.

In 1965, he married Elizabeth McCarthy Russell McBee after she lost her two husbands. They had a health products business, first in San Diego, then in Escondido. They lived in Rancho Bernardo for 25 years where he also sold real estate. He played golf and had a 6-10 handicap. He played tennis, and his partner in the super seniors at times was Bobbie Riggs’ sparring partner. He and Elizabeth enjoyed 35 years of RVing and fishing with groups in San Diego and Sun Lakes.

They moved to Sun Lakes on October 1, 1990. After he could not play tennis or golf anymore, he still danced until a year ago and sang karaoke, even two weeks before his death. He and Elizabeth were married 51-1/2 years.

He passed away on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, just six months before his 100th birthday. He had pneumonia and the flu and was in the hospital for a week, then went to a skilled nursing facility and, on Good Friday, into hospice. His memorial service was April 23. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Lawton (104) and his step-daughter Roslyn Russell, both of Sun Lakes. All will miss Jim!