Born Barbara Ann Tillie in Washington, she moved to Baltimore as a child and attended Clifton Park Junior High School.
A seamstress, she formerly worked at the old Raleigh and London Fog clothing firms. She also worked at the Kmart on Wabash Avenue and was an Avon cosmetics saleswoman.
"She was very devoted to her grandchildren," said her husband, Sidney Anthony Lawson, a bartender. "She was kind, generous, caring and willing to help others. She had a delightful sense of humor."
A baker, she enjoyed making cakes for church and family events. She was a library patron and enjoyed reading.
Mrs. Lawson was also the president of the New Christian Mass Choir and had founded a gospel group, Regeneration. She sang at churches throughout the city.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Colonial Baptist Church, 9411 Liberty Road in Randallstown.
Survivors include her husband of 47 years; two daughters, Lisa Lawson and Rhonda Massey, both of Baltimore; two brothers, Allan Tillie of Baltimore and Curtis McTeer of Portsmouth, Va.; three sisters, Harriett Merton, Shirley Tillie and Frances Carr, all of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.