William Lawless Obituary (1943 – 2021) – Pittsfield, MA


William Michael A. (“Michael”) Lawless, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, died on November 30, 2021 at his home surrounded by family. For those who knew our beloved Michael, his wit and his jokes stuck with him until his last breath. His family and friends will greatly regret his noble tree presence.

Michael is survived by his wife and best friend of over 50 years, Jane B. Lawless; his sons Zachary A. Lawless, Tyrone A. Lawless and his wife Nelie; his grandchildren Taylor and Tarren Lawless; her sisters Evelyn (Kalpita) Lawless, Geraldine Coleman and her husband Jerome; his brother-in-law David Baum and his wife Janet Baum and his sister-in-law Vicki Baum Hommes and her husband Charles Hommes. Michael will be remembered by his close family and friends.

Born to Hazel and William Lawless in October 1943, Michael has continued to lead a dynamic life committed to social causes and the well-being of the less fortunate. During his 78 years, Michael has been at the forefront of many crucial changes in his life. These included the organization of the first Earth Day in (US) in 1970; help develop Park East High School in the New York City public school system in the early 1970s; facilitating therapy groups for domestic abusers in the late 1970s; and the formation of the group work program at the Austin Riggs Center based in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

With a continued thirst for knowledge, Michael has remained both a student and a teacher his entire life. Passionate about history, Michael loved to explore and then share everything he learned with his family and friends. A naturalist at heart, Michael was very fond of the outdoors and wildlife, constantly amazes those close to him with his ability to connect with nature and its inhabitants. He had a strange ability to bond with everyone he met, developing lasting relationships with those people.

Michael was a true Renaissance man. He was a procurement specialist for the Air Force in South Dakota, where he became a close friend of a group in Lakota; he trained in anthropology; moved to the Berkshires and became a carpenter; he even did some restoration work at Hancock Shaker Village; he taught in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and worked for many years at the Austin Riggs Center which motivated him to return to school and get his MSW where he worked primarily with disadvantaged populations.

A celebration of the life of Michael Lawless will take place on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at Proprietor’s Lodge, 22 Waubeek Road, Pittsfield, Massachusetts from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Elizabeth Freeman Center on behalf of William Michael Lawless.

Michael will be forever remembered for his humor, quick wit and love of family. And while he is no longer with us physically, in the words of the great poet Maya Angelou: “And when great souls die, after a period of peace flourishes… They existed. They did exist. We can be. To be and to be better for they existed. “Rest in peace and love William Michael A. Lawless.

Posted by The Berkshire Eagle on Dec 7, 2021.


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