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Loss of former WFD chief, president of Exempt’s felt by many

January 9, 2013
By DAVE O’CONNOR - CORRESPONDENT ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

WESTFIELD - Raymond C. Lawson, Jr., was an active volunteer firemen in the Westfield Fire Department for decades, and many people used the phrase, "He will be missed" as they described the loss to the department and community.

Icy road conditions were blamed for Lawson's death at the age of 67 after a motor vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 26.

Pennsylvania State Police at Corry said Lawson of 21 Pleasant Ave., Westfield was traveling south on Plank Road in Columbus, Pa., at 1:15 p.m., when he slid out of control while attempting to negotiate a right-hand curve a half-mile north of Glen Davis Street. Lawson's red 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck went off the left shoulder of the road and struck a tree, impacting the driver's side door.

Article Photos

Photo by Dave O’Connor
Long-time Westfield Fire Department volunteer Raymond C. Lawson, Jr., who died on Wednesday, Dec. 26 was recently honored and remembered in many ways, including the flag over the Clinton St., fire house flying at half-staff. Lawson was also very active in the Westfield Firemen’s Exempt Association, and the flag flew at half-staff over the Exempts’ Hall on Bourne St., as well.

Lawson was pronounced dead at the scene by Warren County Deputy Coroner James Higgins.

Leroy's Towing of Corry, Pa. was called to the scene to tow Lawson's truck.

An estimated 200 people attended his funeral Saturday afternoon, Dec. 29 at the Westfield Firemen's Exempt Association's Hall.

Lawson served as fire chief from 1984 to 1986 and also held virtually every office in the hook and ladder company and fire department. He served on many committees and was chairman of the annual Ox Roast since 1984, overseeing the chicken and rib barbecues. He was president of the Westfield Firemen's Exempt Association since 1986 and was a past president of the department's Past Chiefs Association.

"He did anything for anybody any time of day," current WFD Chief Steve Pacanowski said when asked about Lawson.

Pacanowski remembered his early days in the department when he often rode along side Lawson, who drove the old tank truck.

"It was an adventure riding with him," Pacanowski said. "I learned a lot."

Chief Pacanowski made clear Lawson's untimely death will affect the local department in many ways. As just one example the chief pointed to training.

"He was a great asset," Pacanowski said. "(He) worked with newer members especially on ladder trucks."

"I've known Ray for a long time," Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners Barry Underwood said. "He's going to be sorely missed by the fire department and commission. He did a lot for the department over the years."

Former Assistant Chief and 49 year veteran of the department Jim Pacanowski also praised Lawson, "for the time he spent and the work he did for both the department and Exempt's."

Among those surviving Lawson are his wife Felicia Lawson, three daughters, one sister and one brother. Raymond Lawson's entire obituary can be found in the Obituaries section of this website.



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