Lawson James Styles Jr. died Friday, April 26, 2019, due to natural causes. He was 95.
Lawson was born in Marion to Bertha Shuford Styles and Lawson Styles Sr., and was the oldest of six children: Coleen, Nel, Ruth, Bobby and Jean. Lawson was the last surviving member of this family. Growing up, Lawson loved hunting with his uncles, and through these experiences, raised and trained beagles. He always loved working with his hands and was an excellent woodworker, building furniture, repairing most anything, and he loved to fish. Lawson was a member of First United Methodist Church, and served on the Council of Ministries and the Administrative Board. He attended the Men's Bible Class and sang bass in the choir for over 50 years. Following graduation from Marion High School in 1942, Lawson worked in the weaving room of Clinchfield Manufacturing in Marion, filling looms with yarn and oiling machines. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1943 at Camp Croft, S.C. PFC Lawson was assigned to the Army Air Force Pilot School in Liberal, Kan., and specialized in engine repair. He then completed Airplane and Engine Mechanic training at Keesler Field, Miss., and additional repair and maintenance training of the C-54 aircraft at Hickam Field, Hawaii. He received the American Theater Service Medal, Good Conduct and the World War II Victory Medal. Lawson was honorably discharged as a corporal in the 156th Army Air Force Base Unit, Feb. 21, 1946. Once he returned from military service, Lawson married Flata Viola Chapman, who he met in Marion and dated prior to enlisting. Lawson graduated on the GI Bill from Shelby County School of Aeronautics in combined Aircraft and Aircraft Engine Mechanics in November 1947. Lawson worked at the Old Fort textile mill in mechanical engineering until the family moved to Hickory in 1954 as part of Superior Cable startup. Lawson was elected VP of Manufacturing in 1963. In 1967, Continental Telephone acquired Superior and became Superior Continental, as well as the beginning of the CommScope Division. Lawson was instrumental in creating this new company, and was appointed General Manager of Superior Cable and Equipment Division in 1969. He traveled extensively, representing Superior Continental in the United States and internationally. He oversaw the building of additional plants for Superior in Texas, Claremont and Rocky Mount. Lawson and Flata raised three girls at the family home, 635 2nd Ave. NW in Hickory. After retiring from Superior Continental, Lawson served as President of Brand Rex in Hayesville for several years before ending his work career in 1986. On weekends between the years 1968 and 1971, Lawson and friends built a home in Blowing Rock, using his woodworking and construction skills. His friends supplied electrical, plumbing and masonry work. He loved spending time there and hosted family, friends and the church youth groups. Lawson and Flata moved to Kingston Residence of Hickory in October 2014. He loved visits from his great-grandchildren, who always brought smiles to his face. Lawson was in the care of Carolina Caring and was loved by residents and staff of Kingston. Lawson will be remembered for his dedication to his family and the education of his daughters and other family members, his love of the Chancel Choir at FUMC, his love of all things of nature, his integrity and the respect he had for others. He took great pride in knowing all his employees names and their families.
Lawson is survived by his wife, Flata Styles; daughter, Susan and husband, George, and grandchildren, John, Will and Leigh; daughter, Mary Margaret and husband, Tom, and grandchildren Lawson and Adam; and daughter, Carol and fiancé, Bruce Smith, and grandchildren Sid, Jim and Alice; as well as 10 great-grandchildren.
Family will receive friends at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 9, in the community room of First United Methodist Church in Hickory, with a memorial service at 2 p.m. A private service at the Columbarium will follow.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions can be made in Lawson's name to the Music program at FUMC. Condolences can be made to the Styles Family c/o of Flata Styles, 904 2nd St. NE, Apt 203, Hickory, NC 28601.
Bass-Smith Funeral Home in Hickory is serving the family of Lawson James Styles Jr. and online condolences may be sent at www.bass-smithfuneralhome.com.