Charlton Dabney Lawhorn beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, educator, mentor and friend, passed away Saturday July 7, 2018. He joins his beloved wife of 71 years Wilda who preceded him in death. Dabney lived a long and wonderful life. He is survived by his 4 children, Linda Collins of Overland Park, KS, Dr. David Lawhorn of Lawrence, KS, Col. Charles Lawhorn of Tampa , Florida, and Kathryn Lawhorn Pinto of Overland Park, KS. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren: William Collins Jr., Jessica Scaccia, Michael Collins, Sara Collins, Susan Gering, Christopher Lawhorn, Estacia Lawhorn, Embrelyn Lawhorn, Anthony Pinto, Josette Pinto, and 1great grandchild, Jackson Gering.
Charlton Dabney Lawhorn was known to all friends and family as Dabney. He was born August 1, 1924 in Parsons, Kansas to Charles and Sara Lawhorn. He had 2 sisters Martha and Charlotte and 2 brothers, George (Buck), and Rex, all who preceded him in death. His family was poor and struggled during the great depression often not having food or clothing. Dabney worked at many jobs growing up in an effort to help the family. He was an excellent athlete but especially loved playing football. He was as strong as an ox getting his muscles from delivering 100 pound blocks of ice and his arm muscles were still so strong that when he could hardly walk he used those muscles to lift him from step to step.
Dabney left high school early to enlist in the Army during WWII. He was promoted during the war and was a sergeant in charge of 3 half-tracks in the 3rd Army 6th Armored Division under General Patton. He rarely talked about his service in WWII until quite late in his life. He was proud of his service especially the breakout off of the Normandy beachhead, and his participation at the Battle of the Bulge and relief of Bastogne. He was also part of the liberation of the concentration camp at Buchenwald but did not speak of the atrocities he saw firsthand until, the last few years. He received the Bronze Star and Croix de Guerre with Palms for heroism and service during the war.
After his service in WWII he returned home to Parsons, Kansas where he completed high school and met Wilda Presley, the love of his life. Wilda and Dabney were married on July 3rd, 1946. Dabney worked for Boeing as a tool designer but after receiving a scholarship to play football, he received a Bachelor’s degree from Austin College, and went on to obtain a Master’s degree from Wichita State University and his Doctorate degree from the University of Kansas. He loved teaching and working with young students. Dabney went on from teaching to become a school administrator and superintendent of schools believing he could help to influence and improve all students’ educational progress by helping and supervising teachers. His teaching and administrative career took Dabney, Wilda, and their children from Eldorado, KS, to Parsons, KS, White City, KS, Hesston, KS, and finally to Turner Unified School District in Kansas City, KS., where he remained until retiring.
Dabney had been a member of the Lion’s Club, was a proud Master Mason, and then Scottish Rite.
Dabney and Wilda both had beautiful voices and sang in the church choirs wherever they were. He always had a song in his heart and even toward the end of his life enchanted all with his voice and songs. He was a member of the Methodist church most of his life. Dabney had a strong faith and believed that churches were mainly places to gather and all that really mattered was your faith in God and Christ.
Dabney and Wilda raised 4 wonderful children whom they were very proud of. Dabney was the patriarch of his family; wise, understanding, almost always right in his opinions and recommendations to immediate family, extended family and friends who consulted him often. Dabney valued family almost above all else and taught his children that family was one of the most important things to hold on to.
Dabney had a lot of friends but only two close friends, his brother-in-law David Presley and Paul Brandenburg. Paul’s wife Jean just happened to be Wilda’s best friend and that close friendship continued over more than 60 years. Dabney loved to play cards especially Gin and bridge. He and David Presley would play Gin for hours every time they were together. Dabney played in bridge clubs, and continued to play weekly until his current illness prevented it.
Dabney wanted to be remembered as he was in life before his recent illnesses, happy, strong, loving, and always with a song in his heart. His desire was to have a simple military ceremony with military honors.
All who knew him will miss his wit, his singing, his ever present smile, and can take comfort knowing he is now again with his beloved wife, Wilda.
Services will be held prior to Inurnment at Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, KS at 11:00 AM July 30, 2018
Following his wife’s request, Dabney also wishes Memorial contributions to be made in his name to the Saint Luke’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.