Tom at ranch in Llano
Thomas Edward Lawnsby
  • 70 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 9, 1946
  • Place of birth:
    Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Oct 18, 2017
  • Place of passing:
    Georgetown, Texas, United States
"It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about us." - Tom Lawnsby

Surrounded by his loved ones, Thomas Edward Lawnsby culminated his great life adventure on October 18, 2017 in Georgetown, Texas at the age of 70. His unique humor and philosophical insights, his compassion and understanding, and his generosity and vivacious spirit are treasured forever in the hearts of his surviving family and friends. The legacy of Tom Lawnsby is impossible to quantify because he constantly and gently touching the lives of every person he met with wit, charm, and simple yet profound life wisdom. His last teaching is our guiding light: “It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us.”

Tom is survived by his wife Necya Lawnsby; children, Kerri Lawnsby Sami, Thomas Kent Lawnsby and Jed Andrew Lawnsby; siblings, Rob Lawnsby, Jody Pascarella and Jayme Lawnsby; grandchildren, Garrett Thomas Comey, Tanner Edward Comey, and Thomas Keegan Lawnsby. He is preceded in death by his father Lawrence Edward Lawnsby, mother Rosemary Michaelis Lawnsby, and son Derek Jaymes Lawnsby.

Born on November 9, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York to Lawrence and Rosemary Lawnsby, Tom learned to embrace change as the military moved his family to bases in New York, Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, and Maine. He graduated from high school in New Caanan, Connecticut in 1965, and served in the Air Force which deployed him to the Azores to maintain autopilot systems for military aircraft. In 1968 he married Elizabeth Louise Kubec, welcoming Derek, Kent and Jed into the world. Shortly after divorcing his first wife he met Necya Hanks Gilbert and her daughter Kerri at a divorce party (1976); he was being silly talking on a corded telephone that wasn’t plugged in, they fell madly in love, and spent the next 42 years communicating very well with each other.

Tom’s intellect, innovation, and intuition opened many doors in the technology industry for several decades, from Pitney Bowes Alpex in Connecticut, to Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts and finally Dell Computer Corporation in Austin, Texas.  He loved managing complex engineering and manufacturing processes, teaching others to discover the answers for themselves, and helping people to come together to resolve issues for the benefit of everyone. He retired in 1999, jumping into a variety of hobbies and travels that fed his inquisitive mind and adventurous spirit.

Tom’s children remember him as a wise loving father who encouraged them to pursue their goals, helped them to forgive the mistakes, and taught them powerful wisdom for navigating life on their own terms. “You do the best you can with the tools you have at the time.” Tom’s siblings remember him as the big brother who always went the extra mile for family. He was a generous individual who loved his family, his dogs, outdoors, sailing, tinkering, advising, theorizing, driving a tractor and contemplating the meaning of life. Tom was passionate about helping others, teaching life skills, enjoying the solitude of a sunset, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and loving his wife Necya.

He was an active and dedicated member of the Mensa organization and the Porsche Club of America. He loved attending ballets and symphonies in Austin, volunteering for the YMCA in Round Rock, serving as the executive director of Mozart Fest in Austin, and collecting model trains, planes and automobiles. 

A memorial gathering is scheduled for Saturday November 11 from 11am to 2pm at Booty Road Park in Georgetown, Texas. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Tom’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the National Down Syndrome Society in honor of his son Derek (http://www.ndss.org/Ways-to-Give/) or Austin Pets Alive in honor Tom’s love of dogs (www.austinpetsalive.com). Remembrances can be shared at https://www.forevermissed.com/thomas-edward-lawnsby . The family would like to thank the staff at St. David’s Hospital in Georgetown, Texas for their care and dedication, helping Tom pass from this world peacefully and begin his new chapter across the cosmos. 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Tom Bodine on 10th November 2017

"I met Tom when he came to my crew meeting for the 2012 Texas 200. He was a pleasant man to talk with about sailing and life in general. Soon after that meeting we went out sailing on Frimi, my sailboat. He took the helm on a blustery day on Lake Travis, it was clear he really knew how to handle the boat and really enjoyed sailing. Tom was a lot of fun to talk to.  It was sad when he had to bow out of crewing with me that year due to his illness. I didn't do the trip that year.

Through the years we kept in touch mostly by phone,. It was always pleasant to speak with. In 2013 while I worked at Dell, he came to my "Talk about Sailing over Lunch meetings". Where he would regale me with his tails of sailing off the new Jersey Shore.

My wife and I had a couple of meals with Necya and Tom which were very pleasant

Tom was a good man, a good friend. I miss him, wish I'd been able to spend more time with him, his friends and family."

This tribute was added by Carole Gallagher on 9th November 2017

"Dear Necya,

Tom was synonymous to 'Joie de Vivre'.

He was a sweet man with a beautiful soul and a heart bigger than the world.  He had magnificent stories to tell with a magical flow of words that took our mind away.  Such a philosophical mind with a great sense of humour. Most of all he was totally in love with you Necya.

Thank you Tom and Necya for all the years of beautiful friendship with my forever missed sister Lucie and brother-in-law David. You felt part of our family through Lucie's stories and pictures. All the great Thanksgiving times you had together, Kerri's growing up stories, your great trip in Paris with Tom and David's daily quest for the best onion soup. This quest continued for Tom in Georgetown, Ontario while Andrea and I had a great diner time with Tom before returning to Montreal. The short time we spent together, we enjoyed Tom's wonderful company. We also enjoyed your sister like company Necya.

Our deepest sympathy from our family to yours.

Tom, have a blast with Lucie and David and may be my dad....
RIP my friend. Thank you for your kindness, generosity and great sense of humour. I will miss your e-mails, they always put a smile on my face.

Carole, Andrea, David,Thérèse"

This tribute was added by Suzana Azevedo on 8th November 2017

"Dear Necya,

We are so sorry to hear about Tom's passing! We so much enjoyed Tom's sense of humor and genuine interest in hearing about the latest in our lives whenever we went out to have dinner together. Tom always made us laugh and come back home with joyful hearts thanks to his contagious smile, warmth, and care for us and all those who are blessed to have met him. Much of the fun we had with Tom obviously came from both of you together! You both have the gift of making others happy, telling funny and entertaining stories from a long life lived together, in so many ways so much alike, while at the same time poking fun at each other in the ways in which you were different! Thinking of you together, happy, laughing, and enjoying life during our dinner outings immediately brings back wonderful memories and a great feeling that we were indeed in the company of a match made in heaven!

Dear Tom, we will miss you dearly! Please start to check for good places to dine in heaven, and if we follow the example of how you lived your life hopefully we will also have done enough good to others on this Earth to dine with you again someday!

God bless you,

Suzana and Marcelo Azevedo"

This tribute was added by Julia Takahashi on 30th October 2017

"I never knew Thomas or your family but wanted to share some words of encouragement.  From your comments I can see he really had a great impact on the lives of all those around him.  He is proof of the scripture in Ecclesiastes 7:1 that a good name is important and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth because of a persons accomplishments.  Although death just seems to be a part of life it doesn’t mean it is any easier to see our loved ones pass away.  We can look forward to a time when John 5:28, 29 will be fulfilled and there will be a resurrection.  Until that time deep sympathy—Julia"

This tribute was added by Vis Gowtham on 30th October 2017

"It made me very sad to learn of Tom's passing on to a better world on the other, brighter side of cosmos. Tom reported to me at Digital Equipment at Springfield and Enfield operations.....that said our personal relationship transcended our professional relationship by a million miles. We spent much time together in Galway, Ireland & Kaufbeuren, Germany......My My, I can't even begin to chronicle our marvelous adventures (and misadventures) together.....we both had a weird sense of humor and an appreciation of the absurd.....we made each other laugh so hard we had tears running down our cheeks. His charm, Charisma, wit, intelligence, compassion and generosity are beyond belief. The passing on of Tom brings to sharp relief the finite nature of human life on this blessed earth and the infinite nature of the legacy Tom has left behind for those of us who were fortunate enough to participate life together with him. Dear Necya, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tom, I shall miss you my friend, nobody else can take your place in my heart. Peace. Vis Gowtham"

This tribute was added by Jeanine Wade on 29th October 2017

"The earth has lost a bright light .What a wonderful soul, and how lucky those of us who knew him. Just to be in his presence was calming and reassuring. Add his wit, his intelligence, his generosity, his caring, his wisdom and insights, his joy in life, and he was a rare man indeed. And a lucky man, to have Necya, who loved and supported him in an exceptional way, as he loved and supported her.

I know he is there on the other side, shining brightly, and still as vibrant, loving, giving, and curious as ever, even more so, for now he is whole and healthy and totally surrounded by unconditional love. On that Tom and I agreed strongly, as we agreed on reincarnation.

It is sad for us who will miss his wonderful presence, and my heart and my prayers are with you, Necya, especially. But hopefully, it helps to know he is only a thought away, and being together again is a certainty."

This tribute was added by Charlotte Gulley on 28th October 2017

"Dear Necya,
Ann Miracle Gray sent us an email about Tom's "graduation".  I am so sorry for your loss and I hope that you are doing as well as can be expected during a time like this.  Please reach out.  I registered on this site, so you should be able to get my information.

Love and Prayers,
Charlotte and John"

This tribute was added by Pat Estes on 27th October 2017

"As dear friends, as neighbors, as fellow camping enthusiasts, Tom, along with Necya, have been the very best people we have ever had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know.   Tom's many words of wisdom came in handy at times when we needed some good advice.  I am still having a hard time believing that he is no longer among us.  Art and I will truly miss his always optimistic, bigger than life, self.  My hope is that Tom's dogs Ellie, Barkley and others have found his lovely soul and joined him on his next great adventure."

This tribute was added by Cathy Langinbaum on 27th October 2017

"what a loss for all that knew  him."

This tribute was added by Bill Stump on 25th October 2017

"When Tom and Necya moved to Oak Crest, we had just started to build a house next door to them.  We are not your typical builders, who put up a house in 6 months with an army of contractors.  We are more like grandpa building a rocking chair, very slow, careful, often working alone or with one or two people, sometimes children, friends, or people that really need work.  Anyway, we were there a long time and got to know the Lawnsbys well, having a conversation regularly once a day.  Necya, early in the morning, watering her plants, Tom later in the day, often enthusiastically involved in something.

I remember well one crisp morning when I was there alone removing the formwork from the front porch concrete placement.  Taking the formwork off is always much more fun than setting it up.  It is kind of like uncovering what you hope is good workmanship treasure.  Tom came out and worked with me for a couple of hours, near as I can tell, just for the fun of it on a fine day.

I got to know him well.  We exchanged numerous books, had many a lunch together, and shared views on technology, politics, and how the universe works.  He was a believer in past lives, a tradition, that though is unusual here in Texas, is a bedrock belief of old India, with a billion believers.

I remember our last lunch together.  I am an enthusiastic follower of the current world of neuroscience, where many mysteries about memory and cognition, and how the mind works now have good explanations.  One interesting fallout of all that is that the neural basis of personality now has an explanation.  There are a limited number of inherited characteristics that shape what we loosely call personality or tendency to behave in a certain manner.  Thus among the 6 billion of us, there are many, many personality duplicates.  My theory for how the Dalia Lama reincarnates is that on his death, his monks find a child with his personality duplicate, and then load it with the details of his memory.  Personality duplication is one of the answers to how past life theory might work.  The question I put to Tom, was how is memory transferred?

Tom did not have the technical answer I was hoping for.  He just knew there were memories there in his head.  And of course, though it is rare here, there are millions of people and countless documented examples of these cases in India.  He asked me if I had ever experienced “déjà vu” and I told him I had.  Long ago, when I was a teenager, I knew I would live where I currently do, on the river.  In those days, it was a cattle ranch though.  That is kind of where we left it.  I am very sorry he left us before we could work on that one some more.  But if he is right, maybe we will meet again."

This tribute was added by Sandy Sullivan on 25th October 2017

"Oh Thomas...
You will be missed, your corny jokes and big smile with a book in your hand every time you came in to get a haircut. I know your Necya is going to miss you so much...
I'm so very sorry and will keep all in my prayers ✝️"

This tribute was added by John Elmore on 25th October 2017

"I was a stranger and Tom and Necya both took me in.  

Tom and I had a shared love of two  Albin 25 Swedish mini trawlers and RVing.  I needed a place to work on my RV and Tom and Necya invited me to stay for a few days in their guest cottage during my repairs.  

The best part of my visit were the dogs the delicious evening meals followed by far ranging, deep, and often humorous talks at the table.  We were both military brats.  Our shared music views were discussed.  Our love of words and word play was bantered about.  Two hours of discussion of books and  politics  could be best  summed up with the two French phrases salon politique and salon litteraire.

We kept in contact by phone over the years. My conversations with Tom were delicious.  I always felt more centered and balanced in this insane political world after talking to Tom.  

I miss Tom more than I can express.  Part of me also died.  I am a better person for having known you, Tom.

It may be a toast, but slightly altered, in my mind, it fits here:  "Tom, here's to you and those like you....damn few left."

I love you, my buddy."

This tribute was added by Nancy pastor on 25th October 2017

"He was a wonderful friend.....such a great family.
He will be missed."

This tribute was added by Jan Stirling on 25th October 2017

"Tom is still there in my mind as vibrant as ever.  I remember his charming smile and his light, pleasant voice.  He was wise and welcoming and so wonderfully smart!  I always admired him, right from the first and was so happy to know him.  When he and my husband hit it off so well I was over the moon with delight.  He seemed to meet everyone as if they were going to become a good friend.  He was the best."


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This memorial is administered by:

Jody Pascarella
Kerri Sami
Lawnsby Lori
Jed Lawnsby
Necya Lawnsby
Rob Lawnsby
Thomas (Kent) Lawnsby

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