Sapulpa chain gang legend Marvin Lawson passes at 91


Flags flew at half-mast during Friday’s football game against Sand Springs in honor of Marvin Lawson, a founding member of the legendary “chain gang” in Sapulpa football. Lawson passed away on Thursday, at the age of 91.

Marvin Lawson. Facebook photo.

Sapulpa’s chain gang was one of the longest-serving and most experienced in the state. Many of the members had been running the chains for decades; the combined experience was said to be well over 130 years.

Marvin Lawson, seated, is part of a long-running Sapulpa football chain gang, most of whom are family members. Standing left to right are Robbie Ericksten, Keith Pompa, Chris Lawson, and Ron Holton. Provided photo.

Scores of family members and friends expressed their sadness at hearing about Lawson’s passing. Grandson and City of Sapulpa Economic Developer Mark Lawson described him perhaps the most accurately: ” He was the most ornery, kind-hearted man I know,” Mark said. “He taught us all the importance of faith and family. Never sweat the small stuff, humble yourself before the Lord, and love your family fiercely.”


As of this writing, Marvin Lawson’s funeral service arrangements are pending.

Last year, Sapulpa Times featured Marvin Lawson in a story on his 90th birthday. His daughter Annie Ericksten spoke fondly of her dad’s willingness to help out behind the scenes “When someone needs a hand, he helps them, no matter when or where,” she said.

Marvin Lawson on his horse, Dolly.

Reporter Elizabeth Thompson, who wrote that story, ended it in perhaps the best way to remember Marvin Lawson: “(his) selfless legacy has been taught to his descendants and felt throughout the community, and one hopes it will continue to be for decades to come.”