Clarkstown High School Class of 1964
Clarkstown High School hit the jackpot when the Lawson family moved to New City in the fall of1959. Little did the coaches know that the 5-foot, 100-pound freshman Bobby Lawson, the oldest of seven Lawson children, would lead Clarkstown High School to three team championships. Bobby was the first of three Lawson brothers, followed by Tom and Steve, to star for Clarkstown High School on the athletic fields. During the 1963-64 school year, referred to as “The Year of The Ram,” by The Journal- News, Bobby was a natural athlete who excelled at everything he did. He captained the football team, basketball team and baseball team in his senior year and the teams won Rockland County championships. Those three teams collectively lost only one game all year.
On the football field Bobby lettered in both his junior and senior years. As a senior he was the starting quarterback of Clarkstown’s first undefeated Rockland County championship team. As a matter of fact, Clarkstown had only one winning football season up to that point. For his efforts, Bobby was voted as the first team All-County quarterback by The Journal-News.
In the winter Bobby moved inside and starred for Hall of Fame coach Ed McGrath on the basketball court. In his junior season Bobby was a starting guard on the team that featured Hall of Famer and Rockland County scoring champion Paul Toscano and in his senior year Bobby led Clarkstown to the Rockland County cham- pionship, losing only one game all season. Bobby was selected to The Journal-News All-County teamas a guard in 1964. In the spring of 1964 Clarkstown High’s baseball team finished the season undefeated, just like the football team. Bobby, a two-year starter at second base, captained that team too. He was a unanimous first team All-County selection at second base by The Journal- News. He was given a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies but decided to go to college instead. Some would think that playing three sports during the course of the school year would be enough for a normal person, but not so for Bobby Lawson. In between seasons he managed to become the Rockland County Badminton champion in 1962, 1963 and 1964. In 1964 Bobby added the Section 9 Badminton championship to resume. For his athletic achievements as a Clarkstown Ram, Bobby Lawson was inducted into the Clarkstown High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Bobby accepted a full athletic and NROTC scholarship to Holy Cross and concentrated solely on football. From 1964 through 1967 Bobby Lawson started every game for Holy Cross at a variety of positions, offense, defense, running back kickoffs and punts, plus he held the ball for every extra point during that time. Now at 6-foot-3, 223 lbs., Bobby was a force anywhere on the field. He earned the distinction of being selected to the Syracuse All-Opponent Team in his sophomore year when he quarterbacked Holy Cross against a powerful Syracuse team that featured Larry Csonka and Floyd Little. His most memorable moments were when Holy Cross played Army at West Point. On those occasions, all of his family and friends were in attendance to see him play.
Following graduation from Holy Cross, Bobby entered flight training school in Pensacola, Florida, in order to fulfill his military obligation. At that time Navy had a football team in Pensacola called the Goshawks and Bobby went out for the team thinking they needed a quarterback. He threw a few passes in the drills and looked pretty good. Then Bobby went over to the receivers’ line as the other quarterback started his passing drill. The “other” quarterback started passing the ball down field 60 yards at a time with amazing success. Bobby asked who that guy was and one of the other players told him, “Roger Staubach.” It was then that Bobby introduced himself to Roger with, “Hi Roger, I’m Bob Lawson, I play halfback.” The team was 11-1 that season and Bobby spent a lot of time blocking for Roger as he completed pass after pass. The following season, 1969, Staubach left for the NFL and Bobby got to quarterback the team and was quite successful. And in 1969 he received his Navy wings in a class of 31. Tragically, 19 of those 31 lost their lives in service to our country in Vietnam. He later flew heli- copters for the Hostage Rescue Team and elite FBI SWAT team based in Quantico, Virginia, and served in the Mediterranean on the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy during 1971 and 1972. He was dis- charged from the Navy in 1973 and promptly joined the FBI.
From June of 1973 until his retirement in 1999 Bob- by Lawson was an FBI agent working in a variety of positions. He was a case agent, an undercover agent, surveillance pilot (fixed wing) and a tactical helicopter pilot. During his career Bobby captured a Top 10 most wanted fugitive, flew dangerous missions in the country such as the Waco, Texas siege, the Talladega prison riots and the Los Angeles riots, and has provided helicopter support for all the Olympics that were held in the United States during that time.
After retirement from the FBI Bobby became a private investigator and then secured the position of Senior Investigator for the Massachusetts Lottery. He worked at that position for 15 years and again retired in June of 2015 to care for his mother and father. Sadly, Bobby’s father, Bob Sr., died in April 2016. Bobby Lawson has been married to Laurel Oakley Lawson, Clarkstown High School class of 1965, for 49 years. They have lived in Pembroke, Massachusetts, for 40 of those years and (sadly) are Patriots fans. Bobby and Laurel have been blessed with three children: Heather 48, Ian, 45, and Courtney, 40, as well as 10 grandchildren.