Ryan Joseph Lawson, 45, passed away October 23, 2019. Born September 17, 1974, in Denver, Colorado, Ryan attended Wilmore-Davis Elementary in Wheat Ridge, Powell Middle and Heritage High Schools in Littleton, and Ft. Lewis College in Durango. He is survived by his parents Rex Jr. (Paula) and Paula Nakayama (Stanley), his sister, Erin, and stepsisters Lisanne (Stan’s daughter) and Christine and Erin (Paula's daughters). He was father of Braden (Parker, CO), 21, Makenzie,17, Calen,14, Kyler, 9, Taevin, 6, and Boots the cat, 6 or 7.
Ryan loved sports--playing and spectating. He was a naturally gifted athlete, excelling at all the eye-hand- and eye-foot-coordination sports. As a little guy (ages 6-10) he burned up the track with his speed in the shorter sprint races (50-, 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes). He played soccer throughout high school and remained a lifelong fan of the sport. He also loved basketball and played throughout most of high school. As he got older his athletic endeavors leaned more toward Frisbee golf, long walks/hikes, and fantasy football.
Ryan was proud to have been born and raised in Colorado and to have deep family roots here. His paternal grandparents had season tickets to the Broncos for decades (first in those rowdy south stands, then the west stands), and Ryan’s support of the Broncos never wavered...except when he was a kid and had a short fan affair with the San Francisco 49ers.
Ryan’s career was a smorgasbord. He was happiest at jobs that kept him moving and surrounded by people. He was a natural salesman because he genuinely cared about people and wanted to be of service. He sold many a pair of shoes at Dardano’s, much fabric at the “fabric store” (as his family referred to it), many TVs at The Best Deal in Town, and most recently parked many a car and walked/ran a half marathon every working day at Sky Ridge Hospital doing valet. He would have withered sitting at a desk behind a computer.
His children were his pride and joy. During the best of times with his second wife, Milissa, his world was filled with little kids laughing, dogs barking, boys wrestling, and video games sounding their repetitive tunes. With each new child, the volume in the house increased, the love and joy quadrupled, the laundry pile got higher, and the dirty dishes spread wider. Being the Virgo he was, Ryan was relentlessly neat and could most often be found cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming/shampooing the carpets. He was not above having discussions about the easiest and most effective tools for mopping floors.
Ryan, Milissa, and the kids created some of their best memories while camping. They went as often as they could and relished the clean air and relaxation provided by nature.
Ryan loved people and had a steel trap for a memory. He often recognized former schoolmates at the grocery store, gas station, at his places of employment--anywhere he happened to be. He undoubtedly took people by surprise (and hopefully made them feel special) by knowing their name and remembering random things about them. He reported these encounters to his sister with much joy: “Hey, Sis, guess who I saw the other day?!” His warmth and smile and genuine affection for people will be missed.
Another great love of his life was music. During good times and bad, Ryan’s spirit was kept afloat by music. In high school he was that obnoxious kid with the kickin’ bass who played rap music so loudly that the car shook and the entire neighborhood could hear him coming. As he transitioned from jock to hippie, the hair on his face and head grew longer and his musical interests turned to The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers, bluegrass, etc. He loved a good concert--especially at Red Rocks!
Ryan died peacefully in his sleep after suffering a blow to the head (please tell his family if you have any information about it) that caused a skull fracture and an epidural hematoma (brain bleed).
Ry was undoubtedly greeted by much family on the other side, especially his beloved grandparents Rex Sr. and Eugenie, who provided their grandchildren a Narnia-like backyard to adventure in. He would have also been tackled and licked mercilessly by his Golden Retriever, Charlie, and all the other cats and dogs he’d loved.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 23, 2019, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at The Inn at Hudson Gardens on South Santa Fe in Littleton, Colorado. Dress is casual and there will be light food. This is an open-house-style gathering; there will be no formal program but his sister plans to speak at 11:00 AM. Please feel free to wear any Broncos or Heritage High School gear you might have.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a gofundme account established in Ryan's name to help his children
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