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Welcome to the memorial page for

Walter James Lawless

April 25, 2013


Dr. Walter James Lawless, age 66, died at his home in Fletcher on 4/25/13 while working outside on a beautiful day.  Walt Lawless was a sardonic wit, devoted woodworker, and a lover of song.  A masterful clinical psychologist dedicated to the well being of his many patients, he practiced psychology in Asheville for over 30 years.  The quintessential gentle man and scholar, Dr Lawless held degrees from Vanderbilt, Emory, and LSU.  

In addition to his private practice, professional achievements and interests include being the winner of WNCPA’s William Bruce Award, a Clinical Psychologist with Heart Path, and Founder of Compassionate Friends.  He was a past board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

He is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 40 years, Denise Cass Lawless; daughter Stephanie Lawless Sharp; son-in-law, Graham Sharp, his parents, Trevor and Jane Sharp; grandchildren, Wade and Rosalie Sharp; his brother, Phillip Lawless, his wife, Margaret Lawless and their daughters, Stacey, Amy, and Emily Lawless.  His parents, John Austin Lawless and Philippa Peck Lawless, preceded him in death.

His love for his family was rivaled only by his exuberance for life. To the extent that you were his friend, you counted yourself fortunate and privileged.   As a friend, he was ever available, dependable, and open.

If anyone ever lived life well, it was Walt.  Beloved by family, friends, and his community, his wisdom was wide and deep.    He had a generous spirit and a kind soul.  His optimism was inherent in his humor, and his humor was inherent in most everything.

Those who knew him loved him, and those who loved him were inspired by his integrity and joy to live better and more fully.  For the shear joy of his company, his family and friends will be forever grateful.

Details of a memorial service will be announced.  However, memorial gifts may be made to Habitat for Humanity of Asheville, where Dr. Lawless served on the Board and was Chair of the Family Search Committee. Condolences may be made to the family at




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