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Article Index
Royal Jester Oscar Lawson suffers stroke
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(The Royal Jesters have been influential and instrumental not only in the history of Tex-Mex but also pop/rock music in Central Texas. The albums, the awards and the accolades are too many to list but here our correspondent Ramon Hernandez provides this update on Lawson's critical condition.)

Óscar Lesley Lawson has suffered a massive stroke and officials say he needs to survive major surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain.

UPDATE 1/7: No change in status - Bobby Galvan

UPDATE 1/6: According to cllose family friend Bobby Galvan, Lawson was given last rites Thursday morning. "I was at hospital this morning (01.06.11) with Oscar and his wife, Rosemary and their children when the priest gave him the last rights." However a decision to have surgery has not been made. His family has hopes that it will not be necessary.

According to Robert González, Lawson was in the shower on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 5 when he experienced the stroke. 

Please check back for updates.

Besides being a personal friend,

González is a music consultant for East L.A. Radio in Los Angeles. Fellow Royal Jester, Enrique “Henry” Hernández, said that Lawson’s wife, Rose Mary, stated Óscar was complaining about a headache when he fell and hit his head on the tub. However, Hernández was too choked up and didn’t want to know anything else. 

“There’re other people that know more and I know I’ll find out later,” Hernández said as his voice trailed off in the emotion of the moment. 

“Normally a stroke results in major damage to one side of the brain, in Lawson’s case, the stroke affected both the front and back of the brain; and the damage is extremely extensive,” Gonzáles said

In other words the stroke affected his right and left sides of the brain. 

Lawson has a five percent chance of making it, but physically, officials indicate he may remain a quadriplegic. If so, this translates to complete paralysis of the body from the neck down. In regard to senses and emotions, Lawson stands to lose speech and the ability to understand speech; plus other senses, such as taste and smell – not to mention thinking and perception. 

While some damage can be minimized with rehabilitation therapy, the damage may be irreversible.

Lawson and Hernández’s musical history dates back to 1956 when they and Mike Pedraza, all Sidney Lanier High School students formed the Young Ones. In fact, Hernández, then with The Five Angels, dropped out of the angelic group to join Lawson and Pedraza. 

A little known fact about Lawson is that after he graduated, he felt a calling for the priesthood and entered a Jesuit Seminary in Louisiana.  
“When he came back from the seminary

nine months later, he called me and said, ‘Let’s form a group,’ ” Hernández recalled. 

Instead, they changed the name of the Young Ones to The Royal Jesters. Lawson, Hernández, Pedraza, Bobby Cantú and Charlie Walker made up the original vocal quintet. Louis Escalante and Tony Arce replaced Cantú and Walker in 1959. 

Recalling the 1960s when Sunny (Ozuna) and the Sunliners and Little Joe & The Latineers were the two pioneers to be reckoned with, “The Royal Jesters were so popular, they were the only other group that we worried about,” Ozuna revealed in an earlier interview. 

Hernández later said, “In February 1977, we just retired. Little Joe, Sunny and we were at the top, so we figured we wanted to be remembered as a successful group. That’s ‘one’ of the reasons we quit when we did. 

“Since then we have lost three trumpet players (Víctor “Picky” Alvarado on March 20, 1993, Jerry Aguirre are two of them), one trombone Roger Paul “Torso” Rivera) and one guitar player (Ray Zulle),” Hernández added. 

Aguirre, who later formed Brown Brandy, died on stage when he hit a high note and just keeled over circa 2004- 2005. 

One of their many vocalists Dimas Garza, who replaced Pedraza in early 1964, died on November 12, 2008 at the young age of 68. Now let’s pray we don’t lose 73-year-old Lawson.

Please share your memories, photos, stories about the Jesters or Lawson. Also, check back for updates.

Comments (9)Add Comment
A great loss to the community and the world of music
written by Theresa Dougherty, January 09, 2011
During the 60's we followed them anytime they played in San Antonio...and it was usually at the school dances! Have great memories of those times. I remember Fernando Arrangua was in the band at the time. The guys were always great to their fans and unlike the musicians now, they had no large egos! They made themselves available to their fans...one huge difference of Tejano vs Anglo music.
written by Randy Davis, January 08, 2011
He was the sweetest Husband, Father and Grandpa. I'll miss him greatly
written by james lawson one of oscar's sons, January 08, 2011
we just lost our hero thank you all for everything
written by james lawson one of oscar's sons, January 08, 2011
we just lost our hero thank you all for everything
written by james lawson one of oscar's sons, January 08, 2011
we just lost our hero thank you all for everything
Close friend od the Royal Jester.
written by Bobby Galvan, January 06, 2011
I happy to say that the RJ's final perfrormance was to benefit the Hispanic Veterans Monument. Fortunally, we were able to capture on Video. As we waited back stage, Oscar seemed very nervous. The RJ's gave a great performance. I also interviewed theRj's. I asked Oscar which /rj's he would waqnt to be remember . He repied "we Go Together". It reminded of the time innocence and young loung love. He was refering to 60's.

I was at hospital this morning (01.06.11) with Oscar and his wife, Rosemary and their children when the priest gave him the last

PleAE oSCAr and his family and firends in your praise.
Close friend of the Lawson family
written by Bobby Galvan, January 06, 2011
The Royal Jesters gave their performance on October 16, 2010 for fundraiser for Hispanic Veterans Monument. It my honor to introduce them on stage. My wife, Lourdes Galvan is the creator of the monument.

Having known Oscar, Henry and Louie for almost 45 years was ver excitng for everyone who grew with their music I was at hospital with Oscar when the priest gave him the last rights. His wife Rosemary is very positive Oscar will recover. Please keep Oscar and family your prayers.
written by Joe Sandoval, January 06, 2011
I knew Oscar from the Patio days. At the time I was in the Slicks Car Club. Throughout the years thereafter we kept in touch because of his CTSA years and mine in the local media. I was deeply troubled by the news of the stroke and am still trying absorb what it means to his family and what it will mean to his many friends. There have been many individuals that have been a part of the Royal Jesters, but there is only one Oscar Lawson. My prayers are with he and his family.
written by REY RAMOS, January 05, 2011

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