Video game pioneer Gerald Lawson, co-inventor of the Channel F video game console, died this week from complications of diabetes. The LA Times wrote that his father was “a science-loving longshoreman” The obituary includes an except from a 2009 interview with Lawson in which his talks about the value of teachers and role models in shaping a young person’s destiny.
“He loved to teach,” said Erhart. “If there was a young person around, he loved to slow down and talk to them at the level they could understand and try to get them engaged in science and technology.”
The son of a science-loving longshoreman father and a mother who worked for the city of New York, Lawson was born in Brooklyn on Dec. 1, 1940, and grew up in Queens.
His mother saw to it that he received a good education.
“When she went to a school, she would interview the teachers, the principal, and if they didn’t pass her test, I didn’t go to that school,” he said in a 2009 interview with the website Vintage Computing and Gaming.
A photo of black scientist and inventor George Washington Carver on the wall next to his desk in the first grade — and a comment by his teacher — made a lasting impact on young Lawson.
“She said, ‘This could be you,’” he recalled in the 2009 interview. “Now, the point I’m getting at is, this kind of influence is what led me to feel, ‘I want to be a scientist. I want to be something.’”
While growing up, he made and sold walkie-talkies, built an amateur radio station in the housing project his family lived in and repaired TVs at different shops.