Lawson Franklin Scantlebury was born in Gays, Boscobel in the parish of St Peter on the Island of Barbados, West Indies, on November 4, 1929, to the late Christopher Scantlebury and Helena Johnson-Scantlebury. Following a brief illness, the Lord in his infinite wisdom saw that he was tired and called him home the morning of September 14, 2020. He lived for 92 years!
In Barbados, he was nurtured by his loving parents – Helena and Christopher who taught him the importance of hard work. He attended Boscobel Boys School and was a member of the Diamond Corner Salvation Army. Throughout his life, Lawson disciplined himself, worked hard, saved diligently, and took on the responsibility of helping to take care of his mother and raise his younger siblings after the passing of his father when he was just 15 years old.
He left Barbados, to accompany his mentor Mr. Corbin as a travelling painter at the tender age of 17 - first to Aruba then to Florida. From there he lived in Minnesota, and Connecticut before settling in Massachusetts. Over the years, he held numerous physical jobs and his experience spanned from entry level roles to lead inspector. He retired from The Container Corporation in Everett, Massachusetts, after spending 14 years there at the age of 74.
A man of great compassion, Lawson was a nurturer who took care of everyone he could. Many have shared stories over the years – and particularly this past week - of Uncle Lawson’s kindness and generosity to them. He was the type that would see a need and take care of it without you asking. During this time each year, I would wait for the call – “when you get a chance, I need to go to Lamberts”. He would order at least 6, 50lb bags of potatoes – to give to family and friends so they would have potatoes for the winter. Around the holidays, it was another trip to buy and distribute turkeys with the fixings. These are tiny examples of the man he was. Uncle Lawson was elated when he became a great grandfather and loved spending time with his great grandson, Bendrick.
Lawson left us with many lessons, words of advice and sound counsel. He was a living historian, a true gentleman, and a great teacher. Couple of sayings that I’ll share and hope you take and apply are:
“Don’t look back because yesterday is gone. Look forward and move on”. He would often say, “Stop worrying! I didn’t live this long by worrying”; and the most profound was, “Sit down and ask yourself a question”.
Lawson, lived a simple, yet rich life. He was independent, was one of the best cooks I knew, and could fix anything. As the years wound down, Uncle Lawson acknowledged God as his Lord and Savior and would pray and give me his blessing every time we parted.
Just this past April, Lawson lost his wife, Mona Scantlebury of 53 years; after which, he was never the same.
Lawson’s cherished memory will always live on with me and I’m proud that I was able to serve, support and stand by his side over the years.
He leaves to mourn, his daughter Barbara Owen; grandchildren: Elizabeth and Brys Owen; great-grandchildren Bendrick and Malcolm; sisters in law: Irsiline Scantlebury (Massachusetts), Pauline Johnson (England); Addie Price (Chicago); brothers in law: William Jr. and Frederick Chapman (Chicago), nephews, nieces, grandnieces/nephews, cousins, and many beloved friends.
His parents: Christopher and Helena Johnson-Scantlebury and all of his siblings, Newton Johnson, Miriam Benn, Carlisle Scantlebury, Iola Scantlebury, and Jonathan Scantlebury, preceded him in death.
you have fought a good fight and have finished your course!
May the heavenly angels take charge over your soul.
Rest in peace and rise in glory!