Back to Lawson's LifeWeb


Lawson James Hager, Jr., was born on July 10, 1944, in Stamford, Texas, to L. J. “Mutt” and Zelda (Skiles) Hager.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 26, at 10:00 AM at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, followed by visitation in Curry’s Corner at the church.

After graduating from Abernathy High School in 1962, he made his way to Abilene to play French horn in the HSU Cowboy Band and received his bachelor degree in 1967 in Horn Performance. More importantly, Hardin-Simmons University is where he met and fell in love with Jane Dennis, whom he married in August 1967. Lawson served in the United States Army from 1967-1969, initially as Second Lieutenant, later promoting to First Lieutenant and served as a Quartermaster Officer in Vietnam. He received his Master of Music-French Horn in 1971 from North Texas State University. Following the birth of Heather D’Ann in 1970 and Emily Jane in 1973, he and Jane returned to Abilene and HSU where he became the third director of bands, which included his beloved Cowboy Band. He and Jane gained many boys in their family during this time and are still lovingly called Boss and Mom. In 1976, Holly Denise joined the family, making it a complete family of five. In 1982, Lawson became Assistant Professor of Brass and Music Theory. He continued to bless the Hardin-Simmons University School of Music students with his patience and kindness in the classroom until 2002, when he accepted the position of Dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts, from which he retired in 2011.

As busy as he was at school, family and his girls always came first. He spent many years coaching softball teams, attending concerts, helping with home repairs, building fences, teaching a few music lessons to some, watching grandsons play football and baseball, granddaughters dance, others play soccer, volleyball, and basketball, but most important, always being his family members’ biggest fan. He attended his three daughters’ graduations from high school and college, gave all three daughters away in marriage, was at the hospital for all nine grandkids’ births, saw five of them graduate high school and one graduate college with her bachelor and master degrees.

He loved his church, Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, and served as a Deacon, on several committees, and enjoyed Friday lunches with the men of his Sunday School Department. He also took pride in his yard work and once earned the Yard of the Month from the Abilene Garden Club.

Lawson was blessed with a wonderful family: his wife of 55 years, Jane Dennis Hager; Heather and Cory Baker and Bailey, Braden, and Sydney; Emily and Patrick Clancy and Elizabeth, Meredith, and Jared; and Holly and Wes Soben and Davis, London, and Gibbs, all of whom live in Abilene.

Every morning, Lawson set his alarm to get up for the day at 5:30 AM. On Saturday, November 19, 2022, right on time, 5:30 AM, he woke up in his Heavenly home. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, sister, Rebekah Ann Hager Poindexter, brother in law Sam Satterfield, and two nephews, Blake and Barry Satterfield, his mother and father in law Barbara and Robert Dennis, sister in law, Jackie Dennis, and two brothers in law, Jon Randles and Tom White. Faith Davis Soben, his only granddaughter whom he never got to know, met him with open arms as he entered Heaven.

In addition to his wife, daughters, and their families, he is also survived by sister, Yvonne Joyce Hager Satterfield, nephews, Brad and Ben and their families, brother in law Michael Poindexter, and nephews, Michael, Jr., Sean, and Aaron Poindexter and their families. His brother in law Bobby and Karen Dennis and children, Cindy Dennis Weakley, Robert Pavlov-Dennis, and Ashlye Dennis Bartlett and their families; sister in law Nancy Dennis and Bruce Moran and children Steve Moran, Doug Moran, and Michele Moran Magee and their families; sister in law Peggy Dennis White and Malcolm Neyland and children, Ben, Josh, Andy, and Matt White and their families; and sister in law Kelly Dennis Randles and Kim Lanier and their children Zach Randles, Sam Randles, and Hayley Randles Martel and their families. He also had many grand nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Lawson Hager Endowed Music Scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University to give more music students the opportunity of learning at the school he loved. HSU, 2200 Hickory St., HSU Box 16100, Abilene, TX, 79698, or contact the HSU gifts coordinator at 325-670-1379.

His wife and daughters would like to thank the Hendrick North Collier Wing 7th floor staff and those who worked with us at Hendrick Hospice for the wonderful care given.