Paul Rawson, who leaves behind a legacy of innovations that have impacted millions of lives, will be laid to rest Saturday at noon at Resurrection Cemetery in Newtown. He died peacefully on Jan. 11 at the age of 100.
Rawson was a longtime Easton resident and active member of the Jesse Lee United Methodist Church. His patent led to the design of the GE toaster oven, which is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute; one of the GE coffee percolators, and the first electric curling iron for Clairol Co.
By the end of his career Rawson would come to have 20 patents as an industrial designer. He worked for General Electric Corporation, and later, as vice president of the Van Dyke Consulting firm and at his own company, Rawson Design.
“He was curious about everything,” said his daughter Nancy Rawson, who described her father as deeply caring and humble. “He wasn’t a scientist by training, but he really loved to think about why things were designed the way they were… whether it was a tree or a leaf or an insect.”
Rawson and his late wife, Lois Rawson, moved to Easton in 1965, where he would reside for more than 50 years. The couple raised two children, Nancy Rawson and Daniel Rawson.
In addition to his design achievements, many in Easton may best remember Rawson for his artwork that hangs in the Easton Public Library. He took up art after his retirement. In October, just a month shy of his 100th birthday, Rawson exhibited his work in a show at the library titled “Ministry in Minature.” The show featured a selection of hand painted postcards containing cheerful notes he created during the pandemic when Covid restrictions made it impossible for him to stay connected with his church family, friends and relatives.
In addition to being a gifted industrial designer and artist, Rawson said her father was a devoted family man. “He was very supportive,” she said. “He worked very hard building his business, but he was always there for us and always told us to follow our dreams. It didn’t matter what paths we chose to pursue; he was behind us.”
Rawson has fond memories of taking walks with her father as a child. Together, they enjoyed admiring and chatting about the beauty of nature. “That’s one of my biggest memories, these nature walks and how much fun they were,” she said. “They really built in me a love of nature and science and understanding of the natural world.”
Rawson had a knack for connecting with people. His daughter recalls his ability to connect with others “wonderfully and effectively.” He was truly interested in those around him and had a way of making everyone he spoke with feel special. He loved living in Easton, talking with his neighbors, and he especially adored the Jesse Lee United Methodist Church community.
“I want them (the Easton community) to know how important they were to him, especially the Jesse Lee Church family,” said Nancy Rawson. “He really believed very strongly in the church and in the value that Jesse Lee could have in the community, and was having, and the work that they were doing. I think he loved living in Easton, he loved the area,” she said.
“He saw the good in life and he lived each day as best as he could,” she added.
Rawson is survived by his two children, Daniel Rawson and his wife JoAnn, and Nancy Rawson and her partner Jim Conmy, along with grandchildren Erica Lind and Richard Lind and his wife Liz and their two children, Richie and Emilia, nieces Susan Keach Sweeney, Lois Cohen, Joan Arsenault, nephew Stanley Jordan Keach and their families, his caretaker Robert Wright and family, and his church family at the Jesse Lee Church in Easton.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Abriola Parkview Funeral Home. A celebration of Rawson’s life will be planned at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to Jesse Lee United Methodist Church, 25 Flat Rock Road, Easton, Connecticut 06612. The number to call is 203-372-8250.