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Obituaries
 
Merritt Eugene 'Gene' Lawlis, 95, Bloomington

Merritt Eugene "Gene" Lawlis, 95, of Bloomington, died March 9, 2014.

Born Nov. 22, 1918, in Columbus, he was the only child of Daniel Webber Lawlis and Mabel Irene (Locke) Lawlis. He was a retired professor of English and of comparative literature at Indiana University, where he taught from 1951 to 1983.

He attended elementary school mostly in Indianapolis. For two years, while his mother was dying of tuberculosis, he lived in Columbus with two aunts. After graduating from high school in Indianapolis in 1936, he went to Wabash College, graduating in 1940.

In December 1940 he joined the Army Air Corps, almost a year before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II. Until late 1944 he taught aerial navigation, then went to combat as an aerial navigator of B-25s in the 345th Bomb Group. 

April 3, 1945, the Japanese shot down the plane he was navigating, and they held him prisoner on Hainan Island, China, from April to August 1945. The atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima Aug. 6 and Nagasaki Aug. 9, 1945, led directly to his liberation and saved his life. He weighed 120 pounds at the time and would have lived only a month or two longer. He spent two weeks recuperating in a Japanese hospital in Sanya, on Hainan Island, then finally came home to hospitals in Indiana, where he met and fell in love with 2nd Lt. Doris Naomi Abel, one of his nurses there.

In January 1946 he had recovered enough to enter graduate school at Harvard University, on the GI Bill. After one semester he went back home to Indiana and married Naomi. Together they returned to Harvard, where he finished his Ph. D. in June of 1951. He started teaching at I.U. that fall. He taught at Wabash College in 1964-65; otherwise, his teaching was entirely at I.U.

During the last part of his life, he worked on a book about prisoners of war in 10 wars, including WWII, called "Winking at Death" (2008). His own experience is interwoven throughout.

Survivors include his wife, Naomi Lawlis; three daughters, Marcia (husband, Glenn) Gero, of Bloomington and members of New Life Community Church in Nashville,  Barbara Rand of Boise, Idaho, and Abigail Kuzma of Indianapolis; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Arrangements for a family memorial are pending. He will be buried at Fountain Park Cemetery in Winchester.

Gene was a kind man, and a true gentleman. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, colleagues and former students.

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Timothy L. Ware, 63, of Nashville
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  • July 2
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 2
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • July 2
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • July 2
    Bluebird Club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 2
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 School House Lane
  • July 2
    Go Club meeting Thursday CANCELED
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 2
    BC Garden Club
    9:45 a.m. Salt Creek Plaza parking lot near McDonald's
  • July 3
    Bean Blossom farmers market
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 3
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 3
    Live music at bar
    7:30 to 9:30 p.m., 10 to 11:30 p.m. Big Busted Bar, 44 N. Van Buren St.
  • July 3
    Gospel jubilee at Redbarn
    8 p.m. RedBarn Jamboree, 71 Parkview Road, off 46 East
  • July 3
    Government offices CLOSED
  • July 3
    Open mic night at dance barn
    7:30 to 10 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • July 4
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • July 4
    Hog roast before the fireworks
    6 to 9 p.m. BC (Nashville) Fire, 231 E. Main St.
  • July 4
    Live raptors at Abe Martin Lodge
    7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • July 4
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • July 4
    Live band at dance barn
    8 to 10:30 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • July 4
    The Mizfits band at general store/bakery
    7 to 9 p.m. Big Woods Brewery, 60 Molly's Lane
  • July 5
    Read to dogs at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 5
    Brown County Radio Hour to air Episode 40
    9 a.m. WFHB FM 91.3 and 100.7
  • July 7
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • July 7
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • July 7
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • July 8
    Brown County Radio Hour to air Episode 40
    6 p.m. WFHB FM 91.3 and 100.7
  • July 8
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • July 8
    Washington Township Advisory Board
    7:15 p.m. BC (Nashville) Fire, 231 E. Main St.
  • July 9
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 9
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • July 9
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • July 9
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • July 9
    Gospel hymn sing
    6:30 p.m. Green Vly Apostolic Church, 5124 State Road 46 West
  • July 9
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • July 9
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 9
    Volunteer Fair at The Seasons
    4:30 to 6 p.m., 6 p.m. The Seasons Lodge Conference Center, 560 State Road 46 East
  • July 10
    Farmers market in Bean Blossom July 10
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 10
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • July 11
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • July 11
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • July 11
    Health fair at the YMCA
    8 a.m. to noon YMCA, 105 Willow St.
  • July 11
    Widowed group
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • July 12
    Woods reunion slated
    12:30 p.m. Yellowwood Forest
  • July 13
    Backpack Program meeting slated
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 13
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 14
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • July 14
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 14
    Brown County Council
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • July 16
    WRAPS 20th anniversary open house
    6 to 8 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 17
    Groundbreaking slated for new senior apartments
    2 p.m. Hawthorn Hills, se corner of Hawthorne Drive & Chestnut Street
  • July 18
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • July 20
    Health department offers ServSafe class
    8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • July 30
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane