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Welcome to the memorial page for

Joseph Lawson

August 19, 1932 ~ November 17, 2017 (age 85)

Joseph Herring Lawson (Joe) passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 17, 2017 at the age of 85. Joe is survived by his deeply loved wife, Mary Coffman, his daughter Susan Lawson Kent, her husband Chris Kent, and their son, Joe's only and much-adored grandson, Andrew Lawson Kent.  He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Marcus and Gladys Clower Lawson. 
Joe was born in Athens, Alabama but grew up in numerous towns and cities, until his family settled in Memphis, where he graduated from Central High School. He attended Rhodes College, and upon graduating in 1954, served as an officer in the United States Navy aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Hancock. Following his service in the Navy, he moved to New Orleans and began what would be his life-long devotion to this city. In 1961, he graduated from Tulane Law School, where he was a member of Order of the Coif and an Assistant Editor of the Tulane Law Review.  After a few years of private practice at Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, he decided to follow a family tradition as an educator. He began his long service as a law professor, first at the University of Alabama, then the College of Law at Loyola University. Joe had a deep passion for the law and its role in society, and he shared that passion with thousands of students. His commitment to the rule of law was profoundly connected to his commitment to civil rights and justice. One of his many roles during his career was as a member of the Louisiana State Law Institute. In 2002, he retired from Loyola after 34 years on the faculty. The most important lessons Joe taught came from his loving, gentle spirit. He met personal challenges in his life with courage and turned them into generosity and care for others. Music was a source of great joy throughout his life. He loved nature and travelled often to explore, sometimes in the western United States, more often to spend time with his daughter. Joe was a friend of Bill W. for 35 continuous years.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, where Joe was a faithful member for nearly 50 years. The service will be held on Wednesday, November 22, at 1:00 p.m., 1031 S. Carrollton Ave., with a reception following in the Chalstrom House. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Joe's memory to the Alzheimer's Association ( or the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra ( To view and sign the guest book, visit Arrangements by Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp, 1600 N. Causeway Blvd. Information 504-835-2341.  

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