Jimmie Earl Lawson, 81, passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023.
Jimmie was born the oldest of three children to Jerome (Jabo) and Lena Bell Lawson in Shawnee, OK on August 18, 1941. He worked as a college and semi-professional football coach cumulatively for 34 years, before transitioning into a successful music career in Scandinavia in 1992.
As a young child, Jimmie was gifted and graduated from Shawnee High School at the age of 16. He briefly served in the US Marines before getting married and having three children. During this time, he boxed and eventually ended up playing preseason with the Kansas City Chiefs. During Jimmie’s second marriage, he had a son while continuing his education towards his Bachelors and Masters in Education. He had a passion for helping people and he was able to do that through physical education. Jimmie was married a third time and had two sons and began coaching football in the college ranks. The colleges that Jimmie coached at include: UCLA, Occidental, Azusa Pacific, Santa Ana Community College, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, and Los Angeles Community College to name a few. He held both assistant and head coaching positions at a few of these schools.
Jimmie eventually went over to Finland to coach American football and won a league championship there before retiring from football and making a name for himself in the music scene. He introduced Finland and Estonia to Jazz and Blues although Blues was his love. He pioneered in bringing Blues to that region of the world.
Jimmie wore many titles: husband, dad, brother, son, friend, but perhaps his most well-known title was Coach and Bluesman. I suppose it all began when ten young boys knocked on the door at his house in McLoud, begging him to teach them how to play football. He began formally coaching in the 70’s in a career that lasted decades. He used his courage and coaching skills to successfully navigate daily life in Finland. Jimmie recorded multiple albums and played in numerous festivals in Europe. He is dearly loved there. His fans would come from far and wide to be entertained by him and his bands. A documentary is currently in production to remind the world of his legacy.
Jimmie loved God which is evident by the fact that he would lead the congregational songs at his home church. One of his most favorite quotes came from his grandmother which is “put your hand in God’s hand.” He would always tell his children that because he wanted them to know that they were protected by God’s Will. He was a member and had a strong relationship with the Farrell and Bell Street Church of Christ in Shawnee, OK. He was so proud that his grandmother was one of the founders of that church. Equally as such was his love for his family, football, and the Blues but he loved God just a little bit more.
He was preceded in death by his father (Jabo Lawson), mom (Lena Bell Lawson), son (Maleeke Lawson), brother (George Calip), sister (Alice Leatherman).
He is survived by his brother Dwight Lawson and his wife Susan Lawson of Denver, CO, five children, Tina Lawson of Las Vegas, NV, Chris Lawson of San Jose, CA, Toni Wilson of Leander TX, Jimmie Lawson Jr of Chino, CA, Gaboi Lawson of Chester, CA; three grandsons, Shay Beasley of San Jose, CA, Joshua McCoy of Seattle, WA, Devin Lawson of Billings Montana, great-grandson Xavian Lawson of Billings Montana, son in law Will Wilson of Leander TX and daughter in law(s) Jennifer Lawson, Michelle Chiappone.