David Mayoh Lawton of Portsmouth, R.I., and East Chop died peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Dave was born on Jan. 24, 1936, in Providence, R.I. to Charles Hamilton Lawton and Sarah Mayoh Lawton. He spent his early years in Pawtucket with his sisters Suzanne (Jeffers) (deceased) and Carolyn (Volmer). He attended the Moses Brown School, class of 1954, and went on to study at Brown University where he graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science.

After university, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, attaining the rank of sergeant. He served in 309th Transportation Company (heavy truck) unit and was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After the service, Dave joined his family business, C.H. Lawton & Son, specializing in real estate and insurance. He served on the Pawtucket Board of Realtors, including one term as president. He was at the forefront of early efforts to leverage technology in real estate, and participated on the committee that created the statewide Multiple Listing Service in Rhode Island. He was a certified general commercial and residential appraiser, and served on the town tax board of review for 25 years while residing in Lincoln, R.I., ultimately serving as town tax assessor for two years before retiring in 2002, when he moved to Portsmouth.

Dave had infinite interests. Many lifelong passions centered around, or cultivated by, his time spent on Martha’s Vineyard. He spent every summer of his 84 years on East Chop until this summer, when the pandemic kept him watching the boats go by in Portsmouth. From his earliest days, he enjoyed boating, beginning with sailboats and racing and later powerboats and fishing. He loved spending time at the beach, reading and chatting with friends and teaching his children, and then his grandchildren, to swim over the years. He supported the East Chop community any way he could and enjoyed his time serving on the boards and various volunteer committees at the clubs.

Other deep interests included all things cars and auto racing. He loved to fix cars, race cars, watch cars race and build cars. He also enjoyed carpentry and woodworking with a major source of pride being his blue ribbon in the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair in the toy category for his model of the ferry boat Katama. He was always busy with projects big and small and was happy to help others and draw on his many talents.

Dave was quiet but always had plenty to say when engaged in conversation. He was interesting, wise, patient, and the first person to call when advice, support or help was needed. He was a consummate gentleman, a devoted husband, an incomparable father and a loving grandfather.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Judith (Hartley) Lawton; a son, David Jr. and his wife Jeanne of New Providence, N.J.; a daughter, Pamela Lawton Jacobi and her husband John of Bridgewater and Londonderry, Vt. He was predeceased by his son Craig Hartley Lawton (age seven). Dave was PopPop to grandchildren Tyler, Connor, and Cara Lawton and Molly and Jake Jacobi. He loved them all.

Due to the pandemic, there are no memorial events at this time. The family plans a private graveside service and a memorial gathering in the summer of 2021. Online tributes can be made at www.memorialfuneralhome.com.