Betty Lou Lawton

July 21, 1929 ~ June 4, 2021 (age 91)


Betty Lou Smith Lawton, age 91, a long-time resident of Washington, D.C., passed into Spirit

peacefully at the home she shared with her daughter in Frederick, MD on June 4, 2021.


Betty Lou was one of four children born to Clifford and Lee Russell Smith in Waterloo, IA. She majored

in Art at the University of Northern Iowa, relocating to Washington, D.C. after graduation, where

she met and married William F. Lawton, Jr., her husband of nearly 60 years. Among her other

endeavors, Betty Lou taught art at Bertie Backus Junior High school, worked as a graphic artist

for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and concluded her working career as

a Purchasing and Procurement Specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Along with 19 friends, Betty Lou co-founded the Roaring 20's Social Club, meeting monthly for

over 40 years. A lifelong artist, she helped found the first Black art sorority, Theta Sigma Upsilon

in 1979 and exhibited her paintings in many Washington, D.C. area art shows.


Betty Lou was predeceased by her beloved husband, William Jr., parents, brother Clifford C.

Smith and sister Yvonne C. (Smith) Simms. She is survived by her sister Deanna (Smith) Johnson,

sons William III (Cathy) and Eric (Pamela), daughter Suzanne, grand-daughter Alexis, and two

great-grandchildren. She will forever be remembered as a loving wife and mother, a caring

sister, a kind and generous friend, a gracious, youthful and energetic aunt, and a stylish and

talented professional woman.

A private interment service is forthcoming.

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