In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Kenneth Lawson, 1941-2023

Kenneth Lawson, 1941-2023
IMB Photo

Kenneth Lawson, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Italy, died April 28, 2023. He was 82.

Kenneth was born Jan. 28, 1941, in Chester, South Carolina, to the late Guy Humphries Lawson, Sr. and Lillian Merritt Donnan Lawson. He graduated from Chapman High School and received the Associate of Science degree from Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and the Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Kenneth proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy, retiring after 21 years of service. He served as a hospital corpsman and achieved the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. He taught science at Tanglewood Middle School and served as pastor of Wake Union Baptist Church and Glenwood Baptist Church.

He married Irene Sightler on March 28, 1964. Irene passed away on Oct. 30, 1996.

“On July 3, 1955, at Ridgecrest, N.C., with Dr. Baker James Cauthen preaching, I surrendered to the call of foreign missions,” Kenneth said while seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board). “There was then and is today no doubt in my mind that God called me.”

Years later, as a family, he and Irene surrendered to the call to missions again.

In 1983, the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) appointed Kenneth and Irene missionaries to Rome, Italy. He served as the missionary pastor of Rome Baptist Church.

Kenneth is preceded in death by his first wife, Irene Lawson. He later married Miguela “Ella” Madarang.

He is survived by his second wife, Ella Lawson; children Marion Lawson (Tracy) and Michael Lawson (Alison); six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held May 4, Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley, South Carolina.

Read an obituary here.