Major Forest Earl Lawton passed away on January 18, 2023 at age 91 in Cleveland, Georgia. A native of Turtle Creek, PA, he was born on April 2, 1931 to Oliver & Ellen Lawton, and graduated Class of 1948 in Ironton, OH.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his late wife Dolores Lawton, sister Betty Fulmer, brother Oliver “Oli” Lawton, and son Michael Lawton. 

He is survived by his wife Edna Norton Lawton, children David Vandenbosch, Tanya L. Motes, Diane Vandenbosch Nesmith, April Lawton (Randy), Wesley Burton (Tracey), Michelle Burrell, Christal Craig (L.J.), Nathan Pruitt, as well as 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Forest was a highly decorated officer of the U.S. Army, serving over 25 years (1950-1975), including tours in Vietnam, Germany, and Taiwan. During his service he held many pivotal roles, leading troops against hostile forces as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, spearheading development of experimental military technology, and providing burial escort for President John F. Kennedy as a member of the Old Guard. In recognition of his remarkable leadership, he was awarded 14 medals, 11 commemorative medals, and numerous other achievements and accommodations. Full military honors will be presented by the Grant-Reeves Veterans Honor Guard. He will be interred at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA.

In his retirement Forest enjoyed traveling throughout all 50 states, was a skilled craftsman, owned a small business, and served over 60 years as a faithful Grand Mason (32nd degree, Lodge #375 Waynesville, MO). He was often found whistling or singing his favorite tunes, playing golf, watching football, investing in children, or constructing countless woodworking projects for his friends and loved ones. Forest was a father and mentor to many, and a hero to us all.

Memorial services are scheduled for 3:00 PM Saturday, January 28, 2023, at The Chapel of Barrett Funeral Home. 

The family will receive friends from 1-3 PM Saturday prior to the service. 

To share a memory or to leave an online condolence for the family, please visit 

Barrett Funeral Home of Cleveland. 706-865-3101.