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4 James Street East
Brockville, ON K6V1J9
Phone: 613-342-2828
Fax: 613-342-9893

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Obituary for Robert Joseph Lawn

Robert Joseph  Lawn
Robert Joseph Lawn
(May 21, 1934 - February 10, 2018)

Robert passed away peacefully at Wellington House, after suffering with Lewy Body Dementia for several years. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sandra (née Graham) of Prescott, Ontario, his three daughters and sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren: Andrea (Bruce Anderson); Erika Nielsen (Graham Smith) and Peter Nielsen (Rebecca Rodley) of Kingston; Kerrie (Rodney Henderson; Owen and Simon) of Ottawa; and Julia (David Crerar; Harry, Philippa, Isla, and Angus) of North Vancouver; his siblings Eleanor (Colin) Pottie, Barbara (the late Roger) Carr, Sharon (the late Tim) Douglas, Nancy (Will) Leach, and Peter (Judy), as well as aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Doug, and parents Clarence and Vivian Lawn of Cornwall, Ontario.

Robert completed his BA in History at Carleton University, and Masters of Education at the University of Ottawa. Dedicating his life to serving his community, he taught in Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, and Ottawa, settling in Prescott, Ontario in 1966. A popular teacher at South Grenville District High School, he was Head of the History Department, Vice Principal, and eventually Principal, a position he held from 1976 to 1982. Until his 1991 retirement, he was principal at Brockville Collegiate Institute. Robert was well known in education circles for his contribution to the introduction of the semester system in Ontario secondary schools. After retiring as principal, he also taught Human Resources for a term at St. Lawrence College, and later found great personal meaning in teaching a term of modern European history in the International Baccalaureate Program in Warsaw, Poland.

Not one to sit idly by when his community needed him, in his retirement, Robert’s many contributions included: Chair of the Board of the Brockville General Hospital; Chair of the Human Resources Committee of the Ontario Association of Midwives; and President of the Prescott and District Chamber of Commerce. He was a member, and Paul Harris Fellow, of the Prescott Rotary Club, as well as a member of the Spencerville and District Optimist Club. Robert served two consecutive terms as Mayor of Prescott from 2002 through 2006, and was on Council from 2010-2014. He was perhaps proudest of the rejuvenation of the Prescott Town Hall, completed during his time as Mayor.

From its inception, Robert was a steadfast patron of the acclaimed St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Season ticket holders and volunteers, he and Sandra were regular fixtures at the festival, with Robert attending for the last time in the summer of 2016.

The family expresses gratitude to the wonderfully caring staff at Wellington House Long Term Care Home in Prescott, where Robert spent the final, safe, and happy months of his life.

Visitation will be held at St. Mark's Parish Centre, 461 Edward Street, Prescott, on Wednesday, February 14th, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Thursday, February 15th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 160 Dibble Street West, Prescott, with reception to follow in the Parish Centre. Arrangements are entrusted with the Irvine Funeral Home and Chapel, 4 James Street East, Brockville. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Robert's memory to the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, Connect Youth, the Brockville General Hospital Foundation, or a charity of your choice. Condolences and donations may be left online at

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