Joseph James Lawler

June 3, 1921June 3, 2018

Joseph James Lawler, 97, of South Yarmouth (formerly Eastham) passed peacefully at home on June 3, 2018. He was the loving husband of Sally Gincel Lawler.

Mr. Lawler was born on June 3, 1921, in NY, NY and grew up in Scarsdale, NY. He was a member of Bronxville High School class of 1939. He attended Furman University in Greenville, SC and graduated with a BS in 1943 and later earned his Masters in Education from Colombia University. He proudly served his country in the Army Medical Department in the Pacific Theater from January '44- April '46 and remained in the reserves until 1952. Mr. Lawler was the Assistant Director of Safety Services for the Westchester County chapter of the American Red Cross: 1947-1955. He passionately taught biology at John Jay High School in Katonah, NY from 1955-1962 at which point he became the Assistant principal. He was principal of John Jay Jr. High School from 1966-1980. He was a member of Rotary International in Katonah and continuted that work with the Nauset-Orleans chapter. He proudly received the Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International, was a president of the chapter, and Assistant District Governor of dist 7950 Mr. Lawler was a volunteer naturalist at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for over 20 years. He enjoyed photography, music, boating, nature study, philanthropy, and being with friends and family.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughter Patricia Lawler-Evans and her husband, Jeffrey Evans, of E. Sandwich, MA , his granddaughter Laura Sylyea Evans and grandson-in-law, Bart Robello, of Buffalo, NY; three nephews and many grandnieces and nephews.

His Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 3 pm to 5 pm, in the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet MA, remarks will begin at 3:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, it is Mr. Lawler's request that donations can be made to the Rotary Club of Nauset-Good Works Fund P.O. Box 1846, Orleans, MA 02653 OR Welfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary PO Box 236 S. Wellfeet, MA 02663. For online condolences, please visit


Joseph James Lawler

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Barbara Francke

June 9, 2018

Thoughts and prayers to the family . Joe was an exceptional man ! I will miss his stories . Eastham won’t be the same without him .. Barb

Joan Perry

June 7, 2018

I had Mr. Lawler, Joe, as my biology teacher. One time I was taking a test and I couldn't remember the answer but I knew where the answer was and I told him what page it was on and where on the page it was. I saw him look it up. He nodded. I asked him so do I get credit? He said no. I asked, "isn't the point of education to know where to find the answers?" He said, "Yes. But that's not the point of this test." He didn't give me credit. What a bummer. He was a wonderful teacher who regaled us with many stories.

Tom Lawler

June 7, 2018

My uncle Joe was with us every step of the way during our 6 year circumnavigation in our small boat. He would comment on our blog entries frequently and provide encouragement to us along the way. He enjoyed our time in the Galapagos island and shared insights on evolution proving to be always the professor! He will leave a hole in our hearts, but his memory will always bring a smile to our faces.
Tom, Kim and Emily Lawler

George Mann

June 6, 2018

Heartfelt condolences to you Sally and Pat on the loss of Joe. He was my Principal my 3rd year in the Katonah-Lewisboro system and the one who stood up for me to receive tenure as a shop teacher. He was the epitome of what we needed in a leader, one who brought out the best in us. I will be forever grateful for his presence not only in my life, but in the life of my family and colleagues at John Jay Jr. High School. Thank you for sharing him with us not only through our careers but also in opening your home on Cape Cod when we came to visit. To visit with our children was like having a personal tour guide! Joe was the consummate friend we all look for in life, it is a privilege to be able to say I found one. We mourn your loss hand in hand with you. Sincerely, George and Linda Mann and family