For 35 years, Linda Crawford Lawson dedicated her life to enriching the minds of the students in her care.
“Linda was an incredible educator who truly cared about her students,” said her sister, Vicki Costantini.
A Panama Central School graduate, Linda was a member of the National Honor Society and was named co-salutatorian of the Class of 1976. She attended Houghton College and earned bachelor’s degrees in education and psychology before earning her master’s degree at Elmira College in reading education.
Throughout college, Linda was active in the Education Club and Student National Education Association.
According to Mary Ann Bentz, who met Linda while the two were students at Houghton College, what stood out about Linda was her kind and caring nature, in addition to her incredible work ethic.
“Linda was an extremely hard worker,” Mary Ann said. “She was always conscientious to do the very best she could at her studies.”
Although Linda’s teaching career took her many different places throughout New York’s Southern Tier, including Randolph Central School, and the Carolinas, she and Mary Ann remained close friends.
In May 2019, Linda was working as a teacher’s assistant in a daycare facility in South Carolina when she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Following her diagnosis, she was surrounded by devoted friends, family and former co-workers who rallied around her to help care for her when she became ill.
A few months after returning to Chautauqua County, Linda passed away, leaving an indelible mark on all those she came into contact with, both students and adults.
The Linda Crawford Lawson Memorial Scholarship
Recently, Linda’s family met with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to create a scholarship that would honor Lawson’s memory and the lessons she instilled in her students over the years.
“Linda constantly stressed to her students the importance of treating others with respect and working hard,” Vicki said. “We wanted to create this scholarship to permanently recognize her for her dedication, patience and love of her students.”
The Linda Crawford Lawson Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to graduating Panama Central School seniors pursuing a career in education.