|Birth: ||Jun. 2, 1936|
|Death: ||Oct. 24, 2003|
Herlen was the youngest child of Erastus Lawless and Myrtie Garner. He was spoiled rotten by his parents and siblings and expected the same treatment from his wife and children when he got older. He is survived by wife Phyllis Aaron, daughter of Steven Aaron and Nora Hamm Aaron, and seven children: Judy Lynn (me), Janet Dean, Danny Ray, Ranny Jay, Desmond Gene, Steven Mark, and Sherri Faye. Two children, Marilyn Sue and Barry James died as babies.
My parents married very young and started a family immediately. They lived in Russell County most of their life but did live in Indiana for awhile. During that time my sister and I were raised by my grandparents Erastus and Myrtie. We rarely lived with them during this period because on every visit my grandmother would start crying for them to leave us behind and Daddy really loved that woman and always caved in.
My father never had a very high opinion of schooling and bragged about only going to third grade. We thought he was joking when he told us this but I found an old school yearbook with him in one picture...the third grade...and he looked at least 12 years old in it. (See picture. He is the dark headed boy in front with the smirky smile.) He couldn't spell very well but could add an entire page of figures in his head before the rest of us could do it on a calculator. His favorite movie was Walking Tall and he loved the old Gunsmoke and Maverick shows. His favorite music was by Marty Robbins and we had to listen to that annoying one record over and over and over during our childhood. In his later years he was hooked on Court TV and you couldn't even talk in the same room when he had it on. God forbid, he should miss anything during the O.J. Simpson trial. He was also an avid fan of General Hospital. When I was in school, he actually tried to get me to miss school and watch that darn show for him while he went to the stockyards. I told my teacher about it and she in turn told the principal. After the superintendent of school visited him, he never asked me again. My sister who detested school volunteered to do it.
After I got married and moved to California for a few years, I worried about my brothers and sisters and called and wrote often. Once when I called, my little sister answered the phone and told me my father was passed out in floor and she didn't know what to do. I told her to call my mother at work and that I would call back in a few minutes and see how he was. I called and called and no answer. I called the hospital. He hadn't been admitted. Finally about midnight they deign to answer the phone. He had been on a diet and passed out. The reason they hadn't answered the phone after that was because they went to the dairy dee for milk shakes. How many milk shakes did he drink from that morning to nearly midnight, I asked. He cried when I left home but after I started calling and checking on them to make sure they were raising those kids right (without me there, I just didn't think it was going to happen). Once when I called I heard my father say in the background, "Don't answer that phone. I just know it's Cissie calling to preach me another sermon." My nickname was Cissie. That's the name usually given to oldest girl child. I was thankful to have it because he gave awful nicknames to the rest of the kids. He actually called my sister Tiny Tim and would have them all bawling and fighting because he would tease them so. He had a wicked sense of humor and seemed to delight in tormenting his children just for the fun of it. We often wondered if they had so many children because they wanted them or because they needed some little "farmers".
My parents were always the secretive kind. They bought a pontoon and went out Lake Cumberland for two summers before anyone even knew they had it. I didn't find out until I was doing the family tree and saw some pictures of them on it. They built another house and used to take vacations (without telling anyone) and someone finally told me they had a vacation home. Get this...it was at Swan Pond Bottom, about 10 miles from here. So while we are worrying about where they are, they are only ten miles away. They took vacations out of town but never told anyone when they were leaving and we were just left to wonder where in the heck they were. I once wrote a book about my family and had a publisher interested but they all told me they would sue me if I had it published because I was making fun of them. Go figure.
Oh, yes, the family pictures. There are very few. My father threw a cigarette out the truck window when they were moving back here from Indiana. The family pictures were in the back of the truck. I remember that incident. It was in 1966. I was born in 1954 and all my brothers and sisters are younger than me. There was still plenty of time to take pictures of their children, but there are none other than what my grandmother and aunt had. They might not have taken any of their own kids but they made up for it with the grandkids. My father's wallet was always stuffed to the brim with pictures of them. My mother is not very sentimental and after my father's death, she gave us all our pictures that he had, our first tooth and first lock of hair that my father had saved in a drawer all these years. She planned on throwing them away if we didn't want them. Yes, just a sentimental old fool.
He was also into gadgets. There was a computer in that house long before I ever thought about getting one. Of course he was on there gambling...but still. Every gadget that came out, he got. My mother had one heck of a garage sale after he died.
One time I was listening to the news out of Bowling Green and heard that my father had been pardoned by the governor. I immediately called to see what he had done now. He was a bad boy growing up and didn't grow out of it until he was nearly 50. He finally found a job he was good at and that was being a magistrate. He excelled at that and loved politics. It's too bad I wasn't doing a family tree before he died because he would have loved all the stuff I found out and he would have also wrote his own obit on here. When he found out he was dying of cancer he started planning his own funeral. He would have been quite happy at the turn out. Everyone that ever met my father, or should I say every woman that ever met him, always said he was a REALLY good looking man. He was but it was his charm that drew people to him. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was a lousy father at times and set really a really bad example for his children and tell them not to tell Cissie when he got in trouble, but we loved him. Life was exciting when he was around (because we never knew what he would do next) and he loved his children very much.
My grandmother had to whip him all the way to school to get him there. She took the road coming home. He beat her by taking the shortcut through the field and hid in the attic. He would be up there sniggering when he heard her tell his father that "he would get at least one day of schooling". I'm sure he worried her the whole time he was growing up because he sure worried us thereafter. He was the typical bad boy but ended up a Kentucky Colonel so bad boys can turn good...even when it takes them 50 years to do it. We really miss that bad boy.
Erastus Lawless (1891 - 1977)
Myrtie Garner Lawless (1895 - 1965)
Marilyn Sue Lawless (1961 - 1962)*
Barry James Lawless (1965 - 1965)*
Omrey C. Lawless (1912 - 1976)*
Avery Lawless (1915 - 1988)*
Marshall D. Lawless (1918 - 1982)*
Margie Lawless Coffey (1921 - 1993)*
Floy Lawless (1927 - 1949)*
Geneva Lawless Irwin (1931 - 2004)*
R. J. Lawless (1933 - 2009)*
Herlen Ray Lawless (1936 - 2003)
Maintained by: Judy Lynn
Originally Created by: Gladys Turner Dinkeloo
Record added: Aug 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 57321807