I first met Noel in 1977 when I first attended a model club meeting and contest at Jack's Hobby Shop, now Rail and Sprue Hobbies, in Jacksonville. Noel was one of the members of the Central Arkansas Modelers Society, along with Dave Branson Sr., Rick Taylor, Joe Rader, Jim Brown, Frank McCurdy, and about 20 others.
As with CASM today, this original IPMS group had a pretty impressive collection of modelers. Rarely did the group fail to bring home more than its fair share of awards from a competition, regardless of the level.
Over the years, I became a regular at the club and I got to know Noel better. As he told me once, "After I saw Mary (Branson) had accepted you, I figured you must be alright." When I first became part of the club, Noel's interest was primarily in aircraft.
During this time, I learned some about Noel, the man. At the time he was a physician and instructor at the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock. He was a graduate of Hendrix College in Conway, where he had been born and raised. During the Vietnam War, he served in the Navy as a Flight Surgeon on board the USS FD Roosevelt and the USS JFK as part of Carrier Group One, including off the coast of Vietnam.
Following his return home, he completed his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Missouri Medical School at Columbia. Noel's medical work, research, innovation, experience, and exploits were far ranging, and much greater than I can understand, earning him a place in the University of Arkansas College of Medicine Hall of Fame in 2012.
His work as an artist was also wide ranging. Noel's abilities and expertise in watercolor paintings was well known and appreciated by many.
Back now to what most of us knew him for -- his modeling. Noel was a member of several modeling groups through the years, including IPMS, in which his membership number held only four digits, and he belonged to the Verlinden-Letterman-Stok (VLS) Eagle Squadron, where he had earned the title of Master Modeler. His works and articles had appeared in many modeling magazines, including both his aircraft and his figures.
I am proud to say that much of Noel's interest in figures came about when I began showing my own figures at CASM meetings. But his abilities and love of this hobby went far beyond anything I ever could have done. We still often talked about our enjoyment of this hobby and the various techniques and methods, not just the newest and hottest.
I will miss him; he was a friend, a colleague, a confidant, and much more. I wish all of you could have known him as I did.
Noel Walter Lawson
(1939 - 2016)
Noel Walter Lawson, M.D., 76, passed away on March 19, 2016 in Little Rock, Arkansas. A retired cardiac anesthesiologist, he was born July 7, 1939 to the late Marvin and Bessie Arnold Lawson of Conway. He was the grandson of the late Walter Washington and Nettie Ragsdale Lawson of Imboden, Arkansas and William Noel and Effie Peebles Arnold of Williford, Arkansas. Dr. Lawson married Carol Ann Buchanan of Plainview, Texas in 1974. Dr. Lawson attended Conway Public Schools, graduating from Conway High School in 1957. He was the fourth sibling of his family to attend Hendrix College, graduating from there in 1961 with the Biology Prize and a bachelor's degree in Biology. He graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in 1965. Lawson served his internship at Duval Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida in 1966. He then entered the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute at Pensacola, Florida in 1966 where he proudly served as a Navy Flight Surgeon, Carrier Air Group One, on the U.S.S. F. D. Roosevelt and U.S.S. J. F. Kennedy from 1967 to 1969. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at The University of Missouri –Columbia in 1970. He received a Cardiovascular Anesthesia Fellowship from the Baylor School of Medicine, Houston, Texas in 1971 where he was Assistant Clinical Instructor and served under heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey. He then became Director of Cardiac Anesthesiology and Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans from 1972 to 1974. In 1974 Dr. Lawson became an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. He also created its Emergency Medical Technicians school. He became a Professor of Anesthesiology in 1980, a position he later held at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock, Texas from 1981 to 1983, and again at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas from 1983 until 1992. In 1992 Lawson became the Russell D. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Missouri. A position he held until 1994 before becoming Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine. He held the Shelden Endowed Chair until 2004, and became Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology upon his retirement. Dr. Lawson was active in many fields of research during his career including Age Changes, Pulmonary Physiology, and open heart surgery techniques. He was Vice-President of the Program Committee for the 3rd Japan-American Congress, Oita, Japan, and held chairmanships in the 4th and 5th Congresses in San Francisco and Matsuyama, Japan. His work helped establish ongoing cooperation in American – Japanese anesthesia collaboration. His professional writings were extensive and he was inducted into the University of Arkansas College of Medicine Hall of Fame in 2012. Lawson was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Carol Ann Lawson; and a brother, Wilbur Glenn Lawson M.D. He is survived by his son, James Buchanan Lawson (Lauren), and grandchildren, Walter Raymond Lawson and Charles Raymond Lawson of Tulsa, Oklahoma; a daughter, Nöel Lawson; brothers, Marvin Arnold Lawson of Arkadelphia, Arkansas and James Larry Lawson M.D. (Nikki) of Little Rock; and a sister, Vivian Lawson Hogue (Gerald) of Conway. He is also survived by nephews Arnie Lawson, Alan Lawson, Jay Lawson and Robert Lawson Adams; and nieces Rhonda Crouch, Kathryn Griffin, Carole Lang, and Amy Adams. A great-nephew, Ryan Lawson, also survives whom he was quite fond of. Dr. Lawson will be remembered not only for his professional accomplishments, but for his exceptional artistic and musical talents. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society and an accomplished and award-winning painter of miniature figures and fine scale models of a historical and military nature. Lawson was an amazing mind, warrior for Christ, and gracious man who will be sincerely missed by those who knew him well. A memorial service for Dr. Lawson will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, April 15th at St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive in Little Rock, Arkansas. The service will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Marvin and Bessie Lawson Scholarship, University House 300, U of A, Fayetteville, AR 72701-1201.