June 3, 2018
Joseph James Lawler, 97, of South Yarmouth (formerly Eastham) passed
peacefully at home on June 3, 2018. He was the loving husband of Sally
Mr. Lawler was born on June 3, 1921, in NY, NY and grew up in Scarsdale,
NY. He was a member of Bronxville High School class of 1939. He attended
Furman University in Greenville, SC and graduated with a BS in 1943 and
later earned his Masters in Education from Colombia University. He proudly
served his country in the Army Medical Department in the Pacific Theater
from January '44- April '46 and remained in the reserves until 1952. Mr.
Lawler was the Assistant Director of Safety Services for the Westchester
County chapter of the American Red Cross: 1947-1955. He passionately
taught biology at John Jay High School in Katonah, NY from 1955-1962 at
which point he became the Assistant principal. He was principal of John
Jay Jr. High School from 1966-1980. He was a member of Rotary
International in Katonah and continued that work with the Nauset-Orleans
chapter. He proudly received the Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary
International, was a president of the chapter, and Assistant District
Governor of Dist 7950 Mr. Lawler was a volunteer naturalist at the
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for over 20 years. He enjoyed
photography, music, boating, nature study, philanthropy, and being with
friends and family.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughter Patricia Lawler-Evans and
her husband, Jeffrey Evans, of E. Sandwich, MA , his granddaughter Laura
Sylyea Evans and grandson-in-law, Bart Robello, of Buffalo, NY; three
nephews and many grand-nieces and nephews.
His Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 3 pm
to 5 pm, in the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet MA, remarks
will begin at 3:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, it is Mr. Lawler's request that
donations can be made to the Rotary Club of Nauset-Good Works Fund P.O.
Box 1846, Orleans, MA 02653 OR Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary PO Box 236
S. Wellfleet, MA 02663. For online condolences, please visit
Nickerson Funeral Home
He changed my life, literally, and we were so very lucky to have him teach
us for not just one, but three whole years.
-- Dixie Perry Todd
Couldn't agree more! Between biology and sailing, I learned so much from
him. Happy memories!
-- Jim Beardsley
They just did not come any better!
-- Steve Oates
This made memories come alive. He like Red Gibson were people with
fabulous values and a passion for what they did - lessons for a life time.
We were so fortunate to receive such qualities from our education.
-- Judy Elder Rogers
Great to see so many classmates responding - wish I could have attended
his memorial service today. Fortunately, I called him earlier this spring
to see how he was doing. We had a nice long chat, including his fond
memories of the Class of '62, and typical of Joe, all positive vibes
despite dealing with some inconveniences associated with approaching the
age of 97.
Joe and Mickey H. had the biggest impact on me during our student years at
JJ - and it continued when I joined the JJ faculty family. In fact, Joe
was the one who strongly suggested I consider education as a career, and
then a year later called me and offered both Brenda and me a job - and the
opportunity to come back home!
Needless to say, I'll miss him . . .
A great guy, and a good friend.
Hope all is well with everyone. Life is going very well down here in The
Villages, FL - stop by and say hello.
-- Doug Bartel
Denny and Dee Abbey drove with Bruce and me to the Wellfleet Wildlife
Sanctuary on June 7th to attend Joe's memorial service. Joe was
instrumental in developing the sanctuary and it was clear that he was
greatly appreciated by the people who worked and volunteered there. We
were greeted by Laura, Joe's granddaughter who was clearly taken back when
we explained who we were. She quickly walked us over to Patty, Joe's
daughter, who was equally taken with the fact that we were there. The last
time I saw Patty was when she was a toddler and Joe brought her to class
to meet all of us. You may remember that day as well.
We proceeded into the assembly room where we met Sally, reminded her of
our reunion and viewed a display of pictures and mementos of Joe's life
beginning with his Bronxville and Furman yearbooks and including two
yearbooks from John Jay. Also pictured were his years in the military,
wedding photos and awards for service to the Rotary. I am not sure I have
included all of the items but this gives you a good feel.
The service was led by Patty and Laura who spoke of their father and
grandfather and how much he had meant to them. There were humorous stories
about Patty attending John Jay Middle School while her father was
principal and his work with Laura at the Sanctuary. The first comment by
Patty took my breath away. Joe was the child of an unmarried woman who
gave him up for adoption. He was adopted by a family from Scarsdale who
lost everything in the crash of 1929.
There were 50 to 70 people in attendance and those present were asked to
share their memories of their time with Joe. Rotarians and sanctuary
volunteers alike spoke of his dedication and leadership. A friend of
Patty's spoke about Sally and Joe opening their home in Katonah to Patty's
friends, explaining that Joe knew if they were there in his home, they were
Someone spoke about Joe's military service during WWII. He wanted to serve
in a medical unit but was rejected because of his sight. He did serve in
some medical capacity but I do not recall exactly how. What I do recall is
that he led the effort to establish a non commissioned officers club where
the men could go and have a time to let off the tension of serving during
war. Also there were a few comments about how he believed Truman's
decision to drop the bomb had saved his life, as he was to be in the first
wave of men to invade Japan.
I was struck by the "second chapter" in life Joe had. The years he spent
teaching seemed to be a distant past for these people. They loved him as
all of us had but
clearly they knew little about what a great teacher and friend he was to
all of us. I think he would have been happy with the service.
I have a card from the service which I will mail to you if you send along
Hope this helps to give you a feel for the moment. We were all very glad
Joe had a way of communicating with people that was very special. He was
the first person of authority who treated me like an adult. He actually
wanted to hear what I had to say... when I was 16 or 17 years-old. He
made me feel sure of myself, gave me confidence that I could be successful
in whatever I chose to do, mentored me as student council president and
gave guidance in a way that made me feel as if I had thought of it myself.
He was a special teacher, leader and man. I knew nothing about his early
childhood. How remarkable he later decided to be a "parent" to so many of
-- Jere Rice
-- Art Fiacco
December 27, 2016
Brainard "Red" Gibson, a retired teacher who while in the
Army served on President Eisenhower's Color Guard, died peacefully in
his sleep on Dec. 27, 2016, at his home in Oneonta.
He was born May 10, 1930, in Inman, S.C., to Brainard Sr. and Alliene
Hipp, the school principal and the English teacher.
As a schoolboy he worked as a custodian and bus driver, stoking the
woodstoves early every morning before getting the bus started to pick up
the other students.
He graduated from The University of South Carolina and received his
master's in education from Columbia University.
A veteran, Red fought in the Korean War and served in Washington, D.C., as
a member of Eisenhower's Color Guard and Sergeant of the Guards at the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
While stationed in D.C., he met Lorraine Gagne, who would be the love of
his life for more than 60 years.
They settled in Westchester County, where Red taught science, coached
multiple sports, and ran the AV department at John Jay High School.
During the summers, Red also managed the Presbyterian Camp and Conference
Center in Holmes, Dutchess County, a position he took full time once he
retired from teaching.
As a teacher, and at the camp, he was a respected and admired mentor to
multiple generations of young people.
Red was an avid gardener, and known for his beautiful tenor voice. He and
his wife Lorrie were very active in local theatre. After retiring to
Maine, they worked as a song and dance team, creating dozens of shows and
performing all over the state.
Red also served as Post Commander for Madison, Maine, VFW Post 7865.
As a widower, he moved to Oneonta to be near family. He continued to
perform with his daughter, grandsons and extended family, tended a lush
and productive patio garden, and got to spend time getting to know the
newest member of the family, his great-granddaughter Amelia.
He is survived by his sister Anne, sons Leon and Ken, daughter Teresa, six
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He will be deeply missed by
all who knew him.
December 26, 2010
One of the most special teachers for many classes of John Jay students has
died. Mr. Henriquez taught us well, treated us kindly, came to our
reunions, wrote newspaper articles about us, gave us so much - after being
an outstanding teacher, turned out to be a very good friend.