People are gathered at the Harlan Center to remember a woman that for decades pushed leaders to make life better for her neighbors.
Those who knew Gayle Lawson say she will be hard to replace.
WYMT’s Jeff Allen talked with several people who were remembering Gayle Lawson and if there is one thing that all of them agreed on, is that she never backed down, never took no for an answer, even to the ripe old age of 94.
At Wednesday’s Harlan County Chamber of Commerce meeting, there was an empty seat, usually filled by the chamber's 2008 lifetime achiever, Gayle Lawson.
“I think we have probably lost one of the greatest advocates,” Ralph Souleyret said.
Chamber members recall many times when Lawson would stand up to politicians, holding them to promises.
“Whether you wanted to hear it or not, she told you what she thought about it, and she would not waiver,” Dan Mosley said.
Lawson graduated from Union College and UK and worked in area schools for years.
She eventually retired from Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College with the highest rank of full professor.
She then made it her full time mission to push for things like better education and better roads.
For years she pushed for improvements to highways 119 and 421.
“I was grateful that God let her live to see that in the plan,” Mosley said.
“First words were 'Thank God' and then she told me keep pushing, keep on pushing, and never give up,” Roger Fannin said.
That is exactly what they plan to do, to keep Gayle Lawson's legacy alive.
Her funeral is Thursday morning at 11am at the Harlan United Methodist Church.