Title: Army Private, World War II
Birthdate: December 2, 1922
Death Date: April 6, 1989
Plot Location: Mausoleum Hill, Section 125, Lot 12
In the fall of 2017 a group of Haverford College students completed a project to research a number of the burials in Mausoleum Hill on the Yeadon side of the cemetery. This profile is based on their work.
William Joseph Lawler was born in Philadelphia on December 2, 1922, the child of James and Nellie (Ellen) Moran Lawler. While both of his parents were born in Pennsylvania, of his grandparents, only his paternal grandfather was born in the state. His maternal grandmother was born in England, his maternal grandfather was born in Delaware, and his paternal grandmother was born in Ireland. In 1930, he was living at 2028 South 23rd Street with his parents and siblings.
His five siblings were James, John, Joseph, Eileen, and Robert, born about 1920, 1922, 1924, 1927, and 1932, respectively. Presumably as a consequence of the Great Depression, William’s father had only had 26 weeks of work in 1939 and had been unemployed for the 8 weeks leading up to the April 1940 census. He worked as a plumber and contractor, and his income in 1939 was $1,040. Brother James also worked as a plumber, with an income of $468 from 1939. His brother John deviated from the family trade, working as a truck driver. William, who was 17 in 1940, was just finishing high school and had not yet begun work.
William did not have long after he graduated high school to begin his adult life in Philadelphia; Just as his father had served in the first world war, William came to serve in the second. In August of 1940, he was enlisted in the army and served domestically until July 21, 1942 when he entered foreign service. He left the service on October 10.
In 1949, he married Florence McMillan., and it was in the McMillan family plot on Mausoleum Hill (shown here) that they would both be buried. She was the second oldest of eight children. His occupation in the 1950 census was listed as press man for an automobile company. William and Florence had three sons, William, Robert, and Patrick. At some point the Lawlers moved to Gloucester County, New Jersey. That’s where Florence died in 1976 at age 53 and William died in 1989. Their son Robert was buried with them after he died in 1997.
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