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March 26, 1923 – Jan. 4, 2023
Mary Lawson obit pic

Mary Jo Lawson passed away January 4, 2023 at the age of 99. She was a resident of Farmington for 55 years. Better known as “Jo”, she was born March 26, 1923, to Richard J. and Edith Kelly Shipway in Sioux City, Iowa, where she grew up.

Following high school graduation in 1941, she attended Morningside College and worked in her father’s CPA office during the War years. She married Arlie Lawson of Talihina, Oklahoma, in January 1945. They made their first home in the beautiful mountain/hill country surrounding Talihina before moving to San Diego in the spring of 1951. They later lived in Mokelumne Hill and Angels Camp before settling in Farmington in 1965. While living in San Diego, she worked in Business Services of the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, San Diego County, for five years. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother in Mokelumne Hill. In Farmington she was a member of the PTA and the United Methodist Women’s group for many years. She enjoyed working on the Community Calendar and other committees. Among her favorite memories were working with Teddy Parker and Aileen Groves in the mimeograph room (back then) each month in preparing the “Farmington Friends”, the FUMC newsletter.

Much as she enjoyed her community work and friendships made thereby, she was always a homebody first. Her family was very dear to her. Mary Jo was a warm and loving person, always seeing the best in most everyone she met. She will be greatly missed by her family, and those whose lives she touched. Mary Jo is preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Arlie Lawson. She is survived by her children; Richard Lawson, Arlie Lawson, Jr. both of Farmington, Robert Lawson of Escalon and Julie Centeno Wendland (Dennis) of Escalon; three step-grandchildren; Judd, Amanda and Sydney, all of Escalon. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Beth Shipway; niece, Jo Stahly of Minnesota; nephew John Shipway (Lydia), Christopher and Anthony of Washington and numerous cousins in Utah and England.

Deegan Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Lawson family. To send the family your condolences, please visit Mary Jo’s tribute page at

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Jan. 18, 2023