Donald C. Lawless, 86 years of age, of Westerville, Ohio passed away on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 surrounded by his beloved family. He was a devoted husband to Helen, and they shared forty-seven years of marriage together. He was born June 18, 1931 to Carl and Margaret Lawless of Garrettsville, OH. He was a graduate of James A. Garfield High School, class of 1948.
Donald proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, entering training at the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Center in 1950 with his friend Paul Visocan. His fleet assignments included the following ships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets: USS NEWPORT NEWS CA-148, USS PITTSBURGH CA-72, and USS ROANOKE CL-145. He was a Radioman, and on one assignment he served on the Admirals Communication Staff. He was proficient in sending and receiving Morse code messages as part of his duties. When his children were young, Don would decipher Morse code messages for them off of a short wave radio to test his skills he learned in the Navy.
Upon returning home from the Navy in 1955, Don managed his family’s business, Emma Lee Tavern in Garrettsville until 1972 when he moved to Findlay. Emma Lee’s opened in 1935 and was owned and operated by his Aunt Emma & Uncle Lee, parents Carl and Margaret Lawless, Sister Ella, himself and Sister Helen Dolgan until it was sold in 1988.
In 1966 he purchased the amusement rides at Riverside Park (Findlay), and operated them until 1977. On July 25, 1970 he married Helen (Judge). They resided in Findlay for forty years, before relocating to Westerville in 2012. In 1990, Don and Helen donated the Riverside Park Train proudly named “The City of Findlay” to the Hancock Historical Museum. The train has been fully restored and is currently being enjoyed by riders of all ages at the Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation Inc.
Don was employed by Whirlpool Corp. Findlay Division for twenty-one years, and retired in 1994. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He enjoyed gardening, caring for song birds, and spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife Helen. His five children, Deborah (Stephen) McLaughlin of Versailles, KY, Scott (Elaine) Lawless of LaGrange, Randall C. (Jennifer) Lawless of Findlay, Carl (Tina) Lawless of Westerville, and Tawnya (Carl) Heuckroth of Lexington, KY.
He is also the proud grandfather of thirteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his two sisters, Ella Lawless and Helen Dolgan.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 12:00PM at COLDREN-CRATES FUNERAL HOME, Findlay where visitation will be held an hour prior (11:00AM – 12:00PM).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation Inc. to support continuing operation of the Riverside Park Train.
Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, INC, 12505 C.R. 99, Findlay, Ohio 45840, Phone: 419-423-2995, Email: NWORRP@NWORRP.ORG, www.nworrp.org.
Online condolences may be shared with the family via www.coldrencrates.com
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