Private family services will be held at a later date for R. Keith Lawton, 93, Lawrence, KS. He will be inurned in the Pioneer Cemetery on the West Campus of the University of Kansas. He passed away Friday, August 17, 2012.
He was born on June 4, 1919 in Americus, KS, the son of Henry B. & Edna Lowe Lawton. He graduated from high school in Kiowa, KS. He attended Emporia State University before entering the US Navy.
Keith served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Following the war, he was a 1947 graduate of the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Business Administration.
He was the retired Vice Chancellor of Campus Planning and Development for the University of Kansas. He served his beloved university for 34 years. He strongly believed in good “town & gown” relationships.
He began his career with KU from 1948-1951 as the Director of Dormitories. From 1952-1962, he was the Administrative Assistant to the Chancellor. He then became the Vice Chancellor of Operations and continued in that position until he became the Vice Chancellor for Campus Planning and Development. After his retirement in 1982, he remained as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor. During his career, he served nine chancellors.
Keith’s “half wagon wheel” campus concept delineated the design of the campus physical future. The approximate value of the projects that moved forward from inception to completion during his career was nearly $1B. He also initiated a regularly scheduled format of liaison meetings with: The City of Lawrence, Douglas County, Southwestern Bell Telephone, Kansas Power & Light and the Kansas Highway Patrol. He also served as a liaison with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office (prior to the University establishing of the University Counsel’s Office) on all matters relating to facilities, construction and parking. He was actively involved in the creating of a Master Plan for the University and then implementing it and carrying it out. He also was involved in the preparation of many applications for Federal facilities support on both the Lawrence and Medical Center campus. He taught University Campus Planning in KU’s Graduate School for several years.
Keith was an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoor sportsman. He was a loving husband and father.
In community service, Keith was a member of the Lawrence Noon Rotary Club since 1950. He was designated as a Paul Harris Fellow in 1988. He was a member of the
Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Physical Plant Administrators, Society for College and University Planners, the Watkins Community
Museum, the KU Alumni Association (life member) the Kansas University Retirees Club, as well as serving as the United Way Fund Drive Chairman.
He was married March 28, 1942 in Emporia, KS to Phyllis Ann Hughes. She survives of the home.
Survivors include a daughter, Leslie Ann (husband, Ted) Talmon, of Durango, CO; a son, Chad (wife, Sylvia) Lawton, of Montrose, CO; two sisters, Phyllis L. Poper, of Seal Beach, CA, Martha J. Walker, of Ft. Smith, AR; five grandchildren Melissa Turner, Lindsay Lawton, Seth Talmon, Joshua Talmon, and Skylar Masten), and three great grandchildren.
The family suggests memorials in his name to the KU Endowment Association or to the Lawrence Salvation Army and may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.