Bobbie Hartsfield Lawson died on 4 April after an extended illness. She was born on 18 March 1933, in Tallahassee, FL, the second of three daughters of Ralph M. and Eppie S. Hartsfield. Bobbie discovered when quite young that the visual arts were her calling in life, and she was producing works of art demonstrating great invention and skill by her early teens. After earning a studio art degree from Florida State University, she moved to Atlanta to work as a commercial artist for Rich’s department store. Here she met J. Perrin Lawson, Jr., of Sumter, SC, then studying architecture at Georgia Tech. Although their personalities were quite different, their tastes coincided in nearly everything, which foretold a happy and fulfilling marriage.
After about a decade in Atlanta, Bobbie and Perrin moved with their two young sons in the late 1960s to Myrtle Beach, where Perrin continued his architectural practice and Bobbie found work designing ad layouts for Coast magazine. Her life took a significant turn in the late 1970s when she began teaching art history at Coastal Carolina, a career she would follow until her retirement after Perrin’s death in 2001. The part-time teaching evolved into a full-time instructorship after she earned an art history MA from Vermont College – Norwich (in the pre-online days when distance learning was much more logistically complicated than it is now).
Bobbie’s involvement in the Grand Strand arts scene extended well beyond her teaching at Coastal Carolina. She worked for many years with the Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild, among other organizations, and up until recently was a docent/volunteer at Myrtle Beach’s Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum, where she was highly valued for her knowledge, expertise, and cheerful demeanor. She was also a longtime member of the Pierian Book Club. An avid traveler, Bobbie went to Europe many times to take in all the cultural treasures on offer there, but she was happy as well with simple pastimes such as enjoying a cappuccino at Barnes & Noble, where she could often be found perusing a stack of the latest art magazines, or dining with family and friends at her favorite restaurant, Café Old Vienna. She was also celebrated for her whimsy, best seen in her collection of penguin-themed art objects (as any visitor to her house could attest), and in the signature straw hats that she frequently wore.
Bobbie is survived by sons Perrin III (Catherine) and Bland, granddaughters Cate Lawson and Sarah Goodfellow (Niles), special friend John Clingerman, and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, Perrin, Jr., she was predeceased by sisters Peggy Rocco and Carol Warren, and brother Ralph “Buddy” Hartsfield, Jr.
The family would like to thank the staff of Home Instead and Homestead Hospice for their professionalism and kindness, as well as John Clingerman and Bobbie’s nephew Ralph Warren, who were both unflagging in their support and help. A service will be held at McMillan-Small chapel, 910 67th Avenue North, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 on Monday 11 April at 11:00 a.m. followed by visitation in the funeral home. Memorial gifts may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Myrtle Beach or to the Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum.
For those unable to attend, the service will be live-streamed on Facebook. To watch remotely, go to www.msfh.net and click on the home page Facebook Icon about ten minutes prior to the scheduled time of the service.
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