Keuper Statue
Russ Lawton

Russ S. Lawton Scholarship


Russell Stuart Lawton (Russ) passed away at the age of 70 on January 14, 2023, following a long illness. He was born in New Britain, Connecticut, the only child of Richard and Madeline (Pepe) Lawton, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Sherryl Marshall, his stepdaughter, Cara Marshall, and Cara’s sons, Tyler and Carter Sandt.

Russ’s abiding passion in life, both personal and professional, was aviation. He soloed at the historic Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at the age of 15. He went on to attend Florida Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Air Commerce with Flight Technology. After graduation he pursued his passion by working for many years for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, ultimately becoming vice president of operations. He pursued his aviation proficiency by earning ratings for Airline Transport Pilot, with airplane multi-engine land, and a commercial pilot airplane single engine land and airplane single engine sea. He was a flight instructor single engine and instrument airplane, and ground instructor. He also obtained certification in Aviation Safety and Security at the University of Southern California.

Other positions during his 40-year career in aviation safety included director of operations for Wyvern Consulting, editor-in-chief of IFR Refresher magazine, and editorial consultant to the Flight Safety Foundation, as well as consulting with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board on issues requiring his expertise.

In 2006, Russ joined Air Charter Safety Foundation, dedicated to improving aviation safety standards for business and general aviation, ultimately becoming its vice president of operations. During his tenure he helped the foundation increase its membership from zero to 300 companies.

For his contributions to aviation safety, Russ was honored in 2005 by his alma mater with its Outstanding Alumni Award. In 2022, the Flight Safety Foundation awarded him its Business Aviation Meritorious Service Award for his outstanding service and contributions to corporate aviation safety.

In addition to his professional achievements, he was the chief pilot for family flights to visit friends and relatives, a connoisseur of good red wine, solely responsible for keeping the family pool in perfect condition for pool parties, and endured Sherry’s never-ending home-improvement projects. He was an active member of the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, MD.

The Air Charter Safety Foundation has pledged to honor Russ' legacy by creating a scholarship in his name.

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