Georgene "Bunny" Eva Lawson
Georgene Eva Lawson "Bunny", 85, of Mission Viejo, California, passed away, Friday, June 15, 2018 in the hospital after an extended illness. She was born in Toledo, Ohio on April 24, 1933 as the adored and only child of Gene and Beatrice Ricard. She was born a few hours after Easter Sunday that year and so was nicknamed “Bunny” as her mother did not want people shortening her name to “George”!
Bunny grew up as an only child but kept active and creative in art and drama. He father owned several ice cream stores and she worked as a teenager scooping the sweet treat and building her arm strength . . . and her social skills. Right out of high school she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, setting off by herself to "ply the boards" as the actors say. Florence Henderson (of Brady Bunch fame) and stage and screen actors like Iggie Wolfington and Helen Hayes were among her friends all trying to make it big. Bunny did a few television commercials but her true love was theater.
Every summer she would go down to Florida to do summer stock and direct plays. There she met to love of her love, Jim Lawson, while she was directing a play and he was building sets. From there they got married (in NYC, of course!) and began to build their dramatic company (er, family) in Greenwich, CT. Three kids followed in orderly succession, Greg, Val, and Scott and they moved around as Jim found more interesting and better paying positions teaching science and eventually headmaster / principal of private schools.
As the kids grew up, Bunny moved into teaching drama as well, most of the time in the local community center. For a time, when they lived in Kansas City, She worked at Adler's department store designing store display windows in the style of the grand displays at Macy's. She brought home many a display prop for the house when the store was finished with them to decorate the house.
In 1979, Bunny and family ended up in Mission Viejo and she looked for places to teach theater. Back in the early 1980s, Mission Viejo was chock full of sports programs, but had no outlets for drama. Seeing the need to help children develop their creative and outgoing sides, she began Children's Theatere Workshop (CTW) which gave a robust program of classes for all ages of children. The kids not only learned how to play a part in a play, they learned about stage makeup, blocking, direction, and memorization of lines. Over the years, many children received valuable training for life and some went on to become actors, directors, or simply great people!
Bunny enjoyed seeing plays, musicals, movies and operas and loved great orchestral music. She loved to laugh and to talk and to interact with people from all walks of life. As she and her family moved around the country, she collected friends and corresponded with them often, at times sending and receiving 100s of Christmas cards. As a lifelong Lutheran, she loved the liturgy and formal celebrations like Christmas and Easter. Her name, Bunny, describes well her bouncy personality and energy, her soft and warm radiance, and the ability to multiply the richness of life to inhabit the world.
Bunny is survived by her daughter, Valerie Peak; son Scott Lawson; her grandchildren, Daniel and James Peak and Karli and Makai Lawson; and 3 great grandchildren Destiny, Constantine, and Julius. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her son, Greg Lawson. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at Mount of Olives Lutheran Church at 11:00 am. Flowers or donations to the charity of your choice are welcomed.