Norwich Lions Remember John Lawe

John and Jean Lawe at home with their dog (Photo: Chad Finer)

Our distinguished and loyal Norwich Lions Club colleague, John Lawe, died on October 14, 2021 at age 92. He brought his energy and intellect to the smooth functioning of the club and successful completion of its fund-raising activities.

In December of 2020, the Norwich Lions Club made John a lifetime member in recognition of his long and substantial service to the club.

The certificate read:

  • Whereas,  he has been a Lion since 1967—more than 50 years,
  • Whereas, he has worked hard to make the Norwich Fair a success over the years,
  • Whereas, he has served as Norwich Lions Club secretary from 1997 through 2001,
  • Whereas, he has been club treasurer since 2004,
  • Now therefore, do his fellow members bestow Lifetime Membership in Lions Clubs International upon John Lawe 

John and Jean came to to Boston from London, England in 1959, shortly after they were married. They moved to Norwich in 1963, when John became a staff pathologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and at the VA Hospital until 1983. Upon moving to Norwich, they adopted a do-it-yourself lifestyle, renovating a farmhouse and building a barn for horses and farm equipment on Blood Hill Road.

John led an active civic life as town health officer, selectboard member, Development Review Board member and member of the Norwich Fast Squad. He also held memberships on the Connecticut River Joint Commission, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) committee, and the Upper Valley Medical Reserve Council. He was the treasurer at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, as well.

He was both a host and a guest in the spirit of international Lionism. He visited the Lions club in Norwich, England, and hosted Lions from Norfolk, England, here in Norwich.

John joined the Norwich Lions Club in 1967. Since then, he and Jean were key participants in the Norwich Fair, performing such essential tasks as daily cleanup and ticket sales. There are many pictures over the years of the two behind a table, selling ride bracelets.

The Lawes first became involved with the Root District Community Club in the 1960s and worked tirelessly to preserve the schoolhouse building, since then.

John’s voice of wisdom and reason was heard in many quarters, as a doctor, selectboard member, treasurer of both St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and the Norwich Lions Club and in service on other community boards and commissions.

John was recognized for his 50 years in service as a Lion in 2017. He continued as the club treasurer until his death in 2021.

Here are some thoughts from fellow Norwich Lions, upon learning of John’s passing:

  • “Very sad. John was also the medical training officer on the fire department for many years. Taught us and recertified us on bloodborne pathogens and CPR once a year. Great guy, and a great Lion. I always loved his accent and gentle ways. He’ll be missed.”
  • “John Lawe was a great Lion and an equally great person who was always there to assist and had the right answers to any financial matter involving the Lions. We worked closely over the years in Lions and also through the town offices that he held.”
  • “He was always so kind to me when I would ask question upon question.”
  • “John has been an invaluable contributor to the Lions for so many years and will be missed by all of us.”

We share John’s loss with his wife, Jean, and with his family. He was a great Lion!

Story by Lion, Stephen Flanders