Dr. Douglas Miller Lawrason was born on the 29th of April, 1899 in Hamilton, Ontario. He was the eldest of 4 sons born to Thomas Douglas Lawrason and the former Jessie Gordon. Dr. Lawrason was named after his paternal grandfather. His father worked in the textile industry and his siblings were; Thomas “Stuart” Lawrason, Alexander “Gordon” Lawrason and William “Murray” Lawrason. In 1909, the Lawrason family resided at 163 Robinson Street in Hamilton.
Dr. Lawrason attended public schools in Hamilton and followed up with 3 years of commercial training. From the age of 15 until he was 20 years old, Dr. Lawrason worked at the Steel Company of Canada (Stelco) in Hamilton. He took a year off from the steel mill and attended the Hamilton Technical School through the day and took extra classes at night school and excelled in his studies. He returned to the steel mill for two years and earned enough money to attend the University of Western Ontario.
While attending university he belonged to the Alpha Kappa Kappa Fraternity and acted as the secretary from 1928-1929. Dr. Lawrason graduated M.D. in 1930.
On the 2nd of July, 1930, Dr. Lawrason received a certificate from the Canadian Officers Training Corps while at the University of Western Ontario. The certificate states that Dr. Lawrason, “qualified in the medical syllabus of examinations”. Dr. Lawrason obtained his Master of Science degree on the 29th of May, 1931 from the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Lawrason was attached to the General Hospital in Woodstock, when he published a 7 page article on the topic of cancer in the University of Western Ontario Medical Journal in April of 1935 (Vol. V, No 4).
Dr. Lawrason married Mary Gladys McDougall on the 11th of July, 1935 in St Catharines, Ontario. Mrs. Lawrason was born in Plympton Twp (Lambton County) on the 30th of July, 1902. She was the 7th of 10 children born to John McDougall and the former Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Williamson. Her parents were farmers on Concession 4, Lot 28. Mrs. Lawrason’s siblings were; Merle Christine McDougall, Margaret Elizabeth McDougall, Catherine McDougall, Archibald Dewar McDougall, Eva May McDougall, George Ross McDougall (he died of pneumonia on the 10th of July, 1920 at the age of 19), John Peter McDougall, James “Lorne” McDougall and Alexander Kennedy McDougall (Baby Alexander died on the 6th of April, 1912 at the age of 22 months). Her mother died in 1919, when Mrs. Lawrason was 17 years old.
Mrs. Lawrason graduated from Watford High School and she became a nurse. She worked for 3 years at Victoria Hospital in London, then she did private nursing before attending the University of Western Ontario and obtaining a Certificate in Public Health in 1931.
In 1937, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrason moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. They resided at 309 Carlisle Avenue. Dr. Lawrason worked as a pathologist at St. Joseph’s Sanitarium. Dr. and Mrs. Lawrason applied for permanent residence status in Albuquerque in 1942. That same year Dr Lawrason was drafted by the United States Army. An article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on the 22nd of June, 1944 advising that Dr. Lawrason was formerly on staff at St Joseph’s Hospital and had been working in the laboratory and the x-ray department.
Dr. and Mrs. Lawrason moved back to Canada and settled in Chatham in 1945. They resided at 43 Victoria Ave in Chatham and Dr. Lawrason worked as a radiologist and pathologist at the Public General Hospital. Eventually he became the Director of Radiology and Pathology. While in Chatham, Dr. Lawrason served as a Director with the YMCA, the Community Chest and the Victorian Order of Nurses. He belonged to Rotary and he was elected President of Rotary in 1950. Dr. Lawrason did not complete his 1 year term. Dr. and Mrs. Lawrason moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1950 where he was appointed to organize and conduct a cancer diagnostic and treatment centre at the Medical Arts Centre. The Kent County Medical Society organized a farewell party for Dr. Lawrason on the 15th of June, 1950 at the William Pitt Hotel. He was presented with an engraved silver tray by Dr. John Graham of Blenheim for his service to the community. In Medicine Hat Dr. and Mrs. Lawrason resided at 25 Second Street (SE).
Dr. Lawrason died on the 25th of April, 1985 in Summerland, British Columbia and Mrs. Lawrason died on the 30th of December, 1991. Each year a scholarship is awarded to a first-year student at the University of Western Ontario for high academic standing. The award is called the Douglas and Mary Gladys Lawrason Admission Scholarship.
*Mrs. Lawrason’s brother Archibald Dewar McDougall served with the Canadian Armed Services during WWI.
**Dr. John Graham also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.