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.