Funeral services were held Monday, Dec. 29, at Summers Funeral Home, Boise, with military honors following at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
John was born May 12, 1933, to Ernest and Elizabeth Lawson in Milltown, Wisc. He was the eldest of seven children. During World War II his family moved to Mountain Home where John enjoyed a typical Idaho childhood, which included camping, fishing and hunting. He was active in sports at Mountain Home High School, forming the basis of a lifelong involvement with athletics. He graduated from Mountain Home High in 1951.
While working at the Mountain Home AFB Base Exchange, he met a young mother of two, Doris Clawson. In June 1956, they traveled to Winnemucca, Nev., and married. That began a lifetime of travel together with the US Army to support his new family. Over the course of his career they traveled to 48 states and several foreign countries having six more children: Barbara, Rebecca, Darella, John Jr., David and Erik. He also formally adopted James and Juanita from Doris' previous marriage.
The couple endured many times apart as John served in both the Korean War and then served three tours in the Vietnam War flying Forward Air Control missions in the OV-1 Mohawk.
His second tour in Vietnam ended with exposure to Agent Orange, which ultimately led to numerous health issues. His military decorations included a Bronze Star Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, six Air Medals, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Aircraft Crewman Badge.
After retiring from the Army in 1981, John attended the University of Idaho where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation Management.
From there he moved to Nampa where he was able to utilize his love of teaching sports to youth at the Marsing Job Corps. He later transitioned to the post office and was a mail carrier for several years.
In his retirement years he was able to be one of Santa Claus's helpers every year at the Festival of Trees. He was heavily involved in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, DAV and the Elks.
John had certain passions in his life including sports, reading (especially Westerns and military themed novels), classic movies, and his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by: his mother, two sisters, three brothers, his wife, eight children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
John was preceded in death by his father and his sister, Barbara Scott.