Jack Lawson, 93, of Billings, passed away on Dec. 30, 2021, with his longtime partner, Joan Crum; his beloved dog Topper; and Kitty by his side.
Jack was born in 1928 to parents Thomas and Eleanor Lawson of Poplar, where they operated a dryland wheat farm, which is still in operation today.
Jack attended the University of Montana in Missoula, where he earned a business degree and was actively involved in the Sigma Nu fraternity and the music community. He most appreciated his many adventures as a member and alumni of the U of M’s Jubileers Choral group.
After graduating, Jack served a short time in the U.S. Army before moving to Billings, which became his home for over 70 years.
Jack had several insurance businesses and was heavily involved in the national ski industry for more than 50 years, insuring ski schools throughout the country and getting his start during the early development of Red Lodge Mountain. Jack taught each of his children to ski, a gift they each appreciate.
Jack was actively involved in the initial expansion of the Billings airport and expansions of commercial air service routes around the state.
Jack was an avid Montana history buff and actively volunteered to fundraise and lobby for the Montana Historical Society as it transitioned into a state agency.
Anyone who knew Jack knew that his true passion was with the pageant. Jack had a long affiliation with the Miss Montana Pageant that began in 1951, and included decades of fundraising and producing for the Miss Montana program. Jack served on the national Miss America Board, helping lead several initiatives to support and grow state affiliates throughout the country.
Jack was a force of nature and will be remember for his upbeat, positive attitude and resilience. He is survived by his longtime partner, Joan Crum; sister Peggy Hegner; four children, Sue Lawson Gonzales of Denver, Linda Lawson Bowman of Kalispell, Jeff Lawson of Seattle and Michelle Lawson Amos of Portland; and seven grandchildren, Elle, Alan, Nico, Catherine, Caroline, Ryan and Wyatt.
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