By Dyke Hendrickson
NEWBURYPORT - Former Mayor George H. Lawler Jr. died this morning. He was 85.
Family members said he passed at his residence at 22 Woodland St. He had been in failing health in recent months.
Lawyer served as mayor from 1964-67. He was a pivotal figure in Newburyport downtown's rebirth, setting in motion the plan to restore the city's historic downtown. Prior to Lawler's term in office, much of the downtown had been slated for demolition.
He remained active in municipal affairs, and was currently the chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners.
Arrangements will be coordinated with the Twomey-LeBlanc Funeral Home here but no details are available at this time.