, Salem, MA

November 28, 2012

Dexter Wayne Lawson MD, F.A.C.S., 76


Wenham — Dexter Wayne Lawson, MD, F.A.C.S., a Thoracic/Vascular surgeon who practiced on the North Shore and was trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital, age 76, of Wenham, passed away on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2012, at the Edith Norse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) unit in Bedford, from Alzheimer’s disease.

Dexter was an avid reader and intellectual whose interests included bird watching worldwide, history and the arts. Born in Brockton, on September 27, 1936, to the late Irma and Ernest “Bud” Lawson (former publisher of The Lynn Item). Dexter graduated from Brockton High School in 1954, from Harvard University, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1958 and from Harvard Medical School, Cum Laude in 1962, elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He became Board Certified in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. Prior to serving as a resident in cardiothoracic surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1969-1970) and chief resident in cardiac surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1969-1970), Dr. Lawson served as an officer in the United States Navy, first as a research medical officer (1964-1965) and then as a surgeon in the 3rd Marines medical battalion in Danang and Chu Lai South Vietnam (1965-1966).

Dr. Lawson was a visiting surgeon at the Southampton Chest Hospital in England before entering private practice with his partner, Dr. Anthony Patton. He served as Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the North Shore Medical Center in Salem (1995-2000). He also served as President of the Medical Staff (1987 to 1989), co-Director of the Vascular Laboratory (1980-2000), Director of the Esophageal Laboratory (1982-2000), Coordinator of the Surgical Residency Program between the North Shore Medical Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital (1981-2000), and Ex-Officio Member of the North Shore Medical Center’s Board of Trustees (1987-1991). He was a member of The Harvard Club, Boston and the Capitan Bertram Society.

His first wife, Beverly Bell Lawson, passed away from cancer in 1987. He leaves his three children from that marriage, Debbie (Ivanoskos), Dexter Jr., and Kimberly and granddaughter, Nianna (Ivanoskos). He is survived by his second wife, Susan Van Etten Lawson.

ARRANGEMENTS: A memorial service is being planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Lawson’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. ( A private burial will occur on December 1, 2012. Assisting the family with the arrangements is the Peterson-O’Donnell Funeral Home 167 Maple St. (Rte. 62), Danvers. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit