Robert Lawless


Robert Rockafeller Lawless, 91, of Nashville, passed away peacefully at home Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from metastatic cancer.

Rob was born Nov. 11, 1924, in St. Paul, Indiana, to John and Ruth (Rockafeller) Lawless, who predeceased him. His older sister, Hester Lawless Petty, also preceded him in death.

Rob is survived by his wife, Judith Leach Lawless, whom he married in 1973; his daughter, Heather Celestine Lawless Lehnert (husband, Ralf) of Nashville; his younger sister, Joanna Lawless Wade of Flat Rock; and several nieces and nephews.

Rob graduated from St. Paul High School in 1943. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he served from 1951 to 1952 with the 39th Field Artillery Battalion in the Korean War.

Rob was an avid ballroom dancer and enjoyed sharing this passion with others. Prior to his Army service, he taught lessons in the 1940s and ’50s in Indianapolis as well as in Dayton, Cincinnati and Hamilton, Ohio. This passion didn’t stop when he was in the Army; he instructed for the military when stationed in Fort Mead, Maryland. Later, he gave dance lessons in Nashville in the 1960s and ’70s and again taught in the late 1990s and into the 21st century.

After training in France and Italy on the European method of men’s hair styling, Rob opened The Den in 1961 in Nashville, the first Roffler salon in Indiana. In 1963, he launched The Razor’s Edge in Nashville. He went on to teach men’s hair styling at the International Barber College in Indianapolis.

Rob was an avid collector and supporter of Brown County art and artists. He and Judith gave numerous talks on the life and works of Glen Cooper Henshaw and photographer Frank Hohenberger. He was a tour guide at T.C. Steele State Historic Site. He served as president on the board of directors for Onya LaTour Community Center. He also served on the first Protective Scenic Board, which voted to eliminate billboards from Brown County. Rob was previously active with the Brown County Historical Society and the Brown County Humane Society. He was a member of Nashville United Methodist Church.

Rob was a recreational historian and enjoyed stories of Indiana and Brown County as well as Native American history. He taught a Native American class as part of the Purdue Super Saturday Program in Milan, Indiana. He also did extensive research on Morgan’s Raid in Indiana, a Confederate incursion during the Civil War, and on the Ripley County lynching.

A memorial service will be conducted at Nashville United Methodist Church, 36 S. Jefferson St., at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21, with Pastor Mary Cartwright officiating.

Visitation will be at the church from 10 a.m. until the service.

Arrangements are through Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home in Nashville.

Condolences may be sent to the family at