John ‘Jack’ Lawler


John ‘Jack’ Lawler


Jack Lawler

John “Jack” Lawler, a lifelong Montana resident, passed away on Feb. 1, 2017. He was born on Jan. 8, 1919, in Baker, the son of Edward and Dove (Schenck) Lawler. Jack graduated from Baker High School in 1937. He played center on their first basketball team to win a district title in 1936. He also was the first Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout troop in 1935. He attended the University of Notre Dame and played in the football marching band. He received his degree in pharmacy from the University of Montana in Missoula and worked in Missoula and Havre before returning to the family drug store in Baker. He was a Pharmacist at Lawler Drug for 38 years.

Jack met his true love in South Bend, Ind., and married Grace Palonis on July 10, 1946, in Baker. Jack and Grace retired in 1982 and remained in Baker until 1994, when they moved to Billings.

Jack was very active in civic affairs. He was a member and chairman of the Baker School Board and a member of the City Parks Board, Fallon County Board of Health, Chair of the Red Cross Fund Drive, long time member and past president of the Baker Chamber of Commerce. Jack was active with the Boy Scouts, serving as Assistant Scoutmaster and Director of the Boy Scout council. He was president and life member of the O’Fallon Historical Society and the Catholic Parish Council. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus and a charter member of the Baker Lions Club. He was a lector for many years at St. John Catholic Church in Baker. The Baker JCs awarded him the distinguished service award for community service. The MT State Pharmaceutical Society awarded him the 1989 Bowl of Hygeia for outstanding community service.

He enjoyed reading, bridge, the stock market, paleontology and archeology. He was active at St. Thomas the Apostle church as a greeter, collection counter and church bulletin folder. He also helped with the Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter food boxes. He was a chair of the St. Thomas capital campaign.

Jack is survived by Dr. Edward Lawler, his wife Faye of Billings; John Lawler, his wife Joni of Sandy Point, VA.; Dr. Michael Lawler, his wife Janet of Bellevue, Wash.; nine grandchildren, Abby, Jennifer, Erik, Laura, Ryan, Patrick, Anna-Elizabeth, Catherine and Kristen; his great-grandson, Henry; and his niece, Annie Williams.

He was preceded in death by Grace, his parents Ed and Dove, his sister Anna Mae, her husband Fred Williams, their son Freddie, and an infant granddaughter, Meghan Michelle Lawler.

I thank all of you who have come to be with my family.  I am grateful to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on me and my family. To all who have touched my life in so many ways, may God bless you as only he can. — Jack

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., with a vigil at 7 p.m. Funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 2055 Woody Drive. Burial will be in Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to O’Fallon Historical Society, Baker, Mont.; Baker Boy Scout Troop; or St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Billings.

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21 thoughts on “John ‘Jack’ Lawler”

  1. I pray that God will guide your family. Something I learned from experience 3 years ago when my mom died. We are never fully ready to let our parents go. Jack had a full long life and he and your mother are back together. I pray for that for my own 92 year old dad. Thank God for all the blessed years you had with him and all the beautiful memories. My prayers are with you. God bless you -Neda R. Culic

  2. When my husband of 60 years was courting me he took me often to the Lawler Drug Store for a Soda. It was a pleasure to reconnect with John in Billings and taste his famous pies and learn details about Baker History. He was a very special friend, I will miss him. Amalie

  3. Kevin and Mary Case - Bellevue, Washington

    Jack was kind, humble, compassionate and loving to all. He is an inspiration for everyone. His legacy in his extraordinary family is profoundly meaningful. Let us raise a glass to a life well lived.

  4. Dan and Lynette O'Connor

    Lawyer Family, our thoughts and prayers to all of you I your loss. May he be at peace now in heaven!

  5. So many good memories surround Jack and the Lawler Drug store, and Boy Scouts, he was a person to look up to. Rest in peace. Vic and Linda Huether

  6. Jack Lawler was an ICON of Baker, loved by all. He was a true gentleman and always
    had a smile and a kind word. He will be missed by ALL that knew him. Jack: Fair winds
    as you sail into the sunset and to the waiting arms of Grace! Jack: What a Guy! Thanks
    for the contributions that you made!

  7. Gerry and MaryAnn Gamrath 527 Legacy Lane Valley City, N. Dak. 58072

    MaryAnn saw Jacks Obituary on Facebook. I will always remember Jack as a humble and extraordinary man. He trusted me with his family legacy, Lawler Drug, in 1983 an got to know him an Grace over the next 28 years. If more men had his character the world would be a much better place. Ed would you be so kind as to send me your physical address ..

  8. Julie and I feel it was a privilege to know and for Jack to share his life with us. He was a gentleman, humble, kind and generous. His faith and family were at the forefront of his life. His sense of humor and smile would warm your heart. He filled his niche and accomplishment much in his longevity — and what a milestone! It was a blessing to have known him and we wish we had more time to spend with him . . . Christmas morning, the Mardi Gras and just drop-ins. God Bless you Jack!

  9. Jack was an early influence on my life. Both he and Grace showed me how to do a job well. They also displayed an inordinate about of grace and patience in employment of several teenage girls at the same time. They gave all of us a great starting point with regard to future work ethic and responsibility. Jack had a great sense of humor and was very accommodating to me with all of my extracurricular activities in high school. I had kept up with Jack throughout the years and was happy to see that he had stayed very active and involved in his church and daily life. My prayers and thoughts are with Ed, John and Mike and their families, as they celebrate a life well lived in their Dad.
    My warmest regards,
    Carolyn Deviney Hadley

  10. Lawler family,
    Our thoughts and prayers to you. Another major piller from Baker’s early years has now gone on to his reward.

    Betty and Lew Price

  11. Sincere love and prayers to Jack & Grace’s boys… I’m glad their back together agian in heaven. Dave & Lori Hall

  12. Doug and Randi Wenz

    Your Dad was such a special person and we have fond memories of him! Heaven has gained a true angel. Our prayers are with you, Doug and Randi Wenz

  13. Ed, John and Mike,
    We are so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. I have many good memories of growing up next to your family. May your memories help you through this time. Prayers and hugs to all of you. Bob and Peggy Just Eden

  14. So sorry to read of the passing of your dad. We were just visiting about my mom and your dad and having lunch with them. It is always difficult to loose a loved one, especially ones mom or dad, no matter what the circumstances are. Please know you and your family are in our thought and prayers. Jeannie and Jerry Scott

  15. Donald J Hartman

    As a new employee of Stallard & Dent, I remember traveling to Baker and working on Lawler Drug Corporation books. Jack was a very kind and thoughtful man. He always treated me with respect and encouraging words. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. He had a long wonderful life with very loving family and friends. God Bless and Keep You All. – Don Hartman, CPA

  16. Ed, I am so sorry for this late note.

    You may not remember me, but you and I met when we were quite young in Baker. I was from Wibaux, but staying with my aunt & uncle, T.J. and Shug Saye, for a few weeks during a part of a summer. I was helping care for my aunt when she was suffering from cancer, and shortly thereafter died.

    I am an attorney; lived in Laurel for over 30 years; and worked in Billings. A few years ago, I moved my practice to, and purchased a home in, Absarokee. I’m not sure we would even recognize each other after all these years! However, I have thought of you often throughout the years, and the kindness you and your friends showed me in Baker. I knew no one there but my aunt & uncle. I remember the fun you made sure I had in such a horrible time.

    I lost both of my parents: Mom in 2008, and Dad in 1980, so I can imagine the loss you are feeling in the loss of your father. After reading his obituary, he was obviously a very busy, but loving and compassionate man! I pray for strength for you and your entire family. My very sincere condolences, Paula Saye

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