Lawson, Warren Lee – Obituary

Warren L. Lawson, 51, of Marshalltown, better known as “Doc” a native of Hedrick and one of Iowa’s widely known musicians, collapsed at Bloomfield last Tuesday, December 28, and died before he could be taken to a hospital.

“Doc”, whose electric organ recitals and accompaniment for horse shows at fairs, dances, weddings, funeral and other public gatherings had made him famous, had gone to Bloomfield to play for a ball Tuesday night sponsored by the T.T.T. chapter. He was stricken while conferring with members of the organization in the high school gymnasium.

He was born at Hedrick and was a son of Dr. and Mrs. F. E. Lawson. He was a graduate of the Hedrick high school and the Ottumwa Conservatory of Music, and had his own band before and after his graduation from State University of Iowa in Iowa City.

During the years following he played piano with many well known Iowa dance orchestras, with the Paramount theater stage band in Des Moines and was organist for the Paramount from 1929 until 1931. Later he reorganized his own dance orchestra and it had headquarters in Fort Dodge, Boone and Faribault, Minnesota, before he moved to Marshalltown in 1939. By 1942, “Doc” had added an electric organ to the band and it proved so successful that he started playing solo engagements.

This work developed into full time operations and “Doc” played in 37 states and Canada. In later years his engagements have included nearly every major Iowa horse shows, at Miami, Florida, and the Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo, During World War II, he played with U.S.O. units for the entertainment of military personnel.

His bobby was horsemanship and farming. He kept his own riding and show horses on his 40 acre farm at the edge of Marshalltown, where the large Lawson ranch has been a show place for several years.

He is survived by his wife, the former Arlene Jones of Marshalltown, and their four month old son, Warren Lee Jr.; two sons, Fred and Don, by a former marriage, and five grandchildren.

The funeral service was held Friday morning in the First Methodist church at Marshalltown, with burial at Fremont.

Keokuk County News, January 6, 1955
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman

1 thought on “Lawson, Warren Lee – Obituary”

  1. My father, Norbert Vernon Reinhart, of De Pere, Wisconsin, played with the Doc Lawson orchestra. An article from the De Pere Journal-Democrat Newspaper says:
    April 14, 1938
    De Pere Journal-Democrat
    “Vernon Reinhart, a member of “Doc Lawson’s Orchestra” playing out of Iowa City, spent Tuesday in De Pere. He returned to Iowa Wednesday morning. A family gathering was held at the Reinhart home Tuesday evening.”

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AccessGenealogy.com. United States Obituaries.

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