A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel

710 West Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, AZ


Leonard James Lawson

January 27, 1943September 24, 2019

Leonard J. Lawson, 76, died surrounded by family on September 24, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. Len was born to Catherine and Charles Lawson in South Amboy, New Jersey in January, 1943. He was an army veteran with three post-secondary degrees: a BS in Mathematics from St. Bonaventure University, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and a JD from Seton Hall University. People who knew Len would not be surprised that he scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT, although he never shared this with anyone.

Before completing law school, while working full time, he met his wife, Tongyoy. They married in 1975 after adventures traveling across the US and Thailand. Len and Tongyoy enjoyed entertaining friends, playing cards, dancing, and singing. They could often be found cultivating a gigantic lush green garden in the backyard of their New Jersey home.

Len worked for the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services for thirty years and retired as the First Legislative Counsel. His opinions were integral in baring smoking from public buildings and his opinion regarding the dangers of Political Action Committees was cited in a book published in 2017. He had many interests including golf, model airplanes, science, politics, baseball, basketball, comedy, reading, walking, and doing anything with his family. He was an incredibly devoted father, traveling hours just to watch his daughters perform or play sports in college and often crafting witty emails and letters to keep in touch. He devoted all his heart to caring for his wife and two daughters. Len’s logic, love, and compassion guided his every decision.

Len is survived by his wife, Tongyoy Lawson; two daughters Lena Lawson and Liza Lawson Risoldi; his grandson, Luke Lawson; his son-in-law, Adam Risoldi; and an older brother, Robert Lawson.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to:

Brain and Behavior Research Foundation https://tinyurl.com/BBRF-Donate-LJL

Alzheimer’s Association https://tinyurl.com/ALZ-Donate-LJL


  • Memorial Service Saturday, October 12, 2019


Leonard James Lawson

have a memory or condolence to add?

henry conroy

October 11, 2019

Lennie, we grew up together, played basketball together, laughed together, went to school together....and I enjoyed every minute I ever spent with you...Rest in Peace!

Cecilia Fischer

October 10, 2019

My condolences to Leonard's family. I worked with Len for many years. He had quite the sense of humor. RIP Leonard.

Anita Usmiani

October 10, 2019

Len and I graduated from St. Mary’s high school in South Amboy, NJ. He sat behind me in Mr. Kuhn’s 10th grade homeroom. Len was a brilliant student and quiet, but had a great sense of humor. Life got boring in homeroom and I always found some mischief to make him laugh, including mini ping pong on the chalkboard behind us. So, Len missed honor roll once due only to a conduct grade for which I take responsibility.
Rest In Peace Dear Len...may God give all your family peace and the love and support of family and friends.
With affection,
Anita Kubisiak Usmiani Class of 1960

Marci Hochman

October 4, 2019

I had the good fortune to work with Len at the Office of Legislative Services for over 25 years. His knowledge of the law and legislative process in New Jersey were unsurpassed. He was not only a friend and colleague, but also a true mentor to me during my career at OLS. My deepest condolences to the entire family on their loss.

Marci Hochman

Carol Yuhas

October 3, 2019

Len was my supervisor at OLS for many years. The man was brilliant, and had impressive knowledge of the law. "Integrity" is a word which isn't used or heard much these days. With Len, it wasn't just a word; he lived it every day of his life. My condolences to his family.

Gabe Neville

October 3, 2019

I worked at the nonpartisan New Jersey Office of Legislative Services with Len in the 2000s. He was very kind to me, and a great teacher. He taught me (and many others) about the Legislature, the law, and the sometimes absurd life of a state worker. His opinions still represent the gold standard for quality in our office. He was largely responsible for allocating new laws from the early 1980s to 2008. So whenever you open a New Jersey statute book and see a law passed during those years, you'll see his handiwork. Len was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor, and he will be missed. All the best to his family.

Stephanie Ross

September 27, 2019

Mr. Lawson was my childhood neighbor. Our driveways were side by side so his daughters Lena and Liza always spent time with my brother and I even though we were a little younger. He was a wonder man ,always had to bend down to get into our family room because he was so tall. He will be missed very much so.