American Veteran 01

Oliver James Lawless, M.D.

July 11, 1938 ~ April 29, 2022 (age 83)



Dr.  Oliver James Lawless was born in Dublin Ireland, on July 11, 1938, the son of Thomas Joseph Lawless and Mary Moran Lawless.  He passed away with his family by his side on April 29, 2022.   His early education was at St. Finian’s School in Mullingar, County Westmeath.  He graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from University College Dublin, National University Ireland in 1961.  After working and receiving special training in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation in Ireland, he traveled to the United States to advance even further his training in Immunology.  From 1967 to 1968, he joined the Medical Department of Boston University as a Research Fellow.   During this time of the Vietnam War, he was recruited by the U.S. Army.  Due to his expertise in Immunology, he was assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center as the Chief of the Allergy and Immunology Laboratory.  While there, he created and became the founding Chief of the Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology and also developed a renowned research program and Rheumatology Fellowship program that continues to train some of the brightest in the field. For all this, he is considered the Father of Rheumatology at Walter Reed.  While he received many honors, the Philip Hench Award succinctly illustrates the impact of his long career:  “Dr. Lawless is awarded the Philip Hench Award for his outstanding contributions in the field of Rheumatology and Arthritis.  Dr.  Lawless’ efforts as a teacher, researcher, and clinician have brought him national recognition.  Through his dedication and efforts, the diagnosis and cure of Arthritis in civilian as well as the military communities have been significantly improved.  His work reflects very highly upon himself, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and the United States Army.”  He was an apostle of medicine. 

Oliver was an outstanding athlete and loved to play sports throughout his life.  During his time at University he represented Ireland in the World University Games, the Universiade in swimming and water polo.  He also loved to play tennis and golf.  He was an avid reader and conversationalist, and loved to interact with people.  He worried about his patients and loved his family dearly.

He is survived by his wife Elena, his children Oliver, Fiona, Christian, Siobhan and son in law Kristofer Pritchett.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be held  on Tuesday, May 17,  2022 at 12:30 pm at St. Louis Catholic Church; 12500 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, Maryland 21029.  A Celebration of Life will follow at Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P.A., 12540 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, Maryland 21029.  He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Saint Louis Catholic Church.

To send flowers to Oliver's family, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Mass
May 17, 2022

12:30 PM
St. Louis Catholic Church
12500 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029

Celebration of Life
May 17, 2022

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P. A.
12540 Clarksville Pike, Rt 108
Clarksville, Maryland 21029

Interment at later date

Arlington National Cemetery
1 Memorial Ave
Arlington, VA 22211


St. Louis Parish
12500 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville MD 21029
Tel: 1-410-531-6040

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