According to the Laconia Daily Sun, New England’s arcade patriarch Bob Lawton died at the age of 90 on Nov. 11. The paper said he passed peacefully while at Concord Hospital-Laconia surrounded by family.
The Ohio native is credited with founding his Funspot FEC in 1964 when he and his late brother John bought 21 acres in Weirs Beach, N.H., and expanded it into what he claimed was the largest arcade in the world at 70,00 square feet. Wrote the paper:
“Working at Funspot was Bob’s love and passion. He could easily be found somewhere in the building or at the Funspot maintenance shop working on a new project, fixing up an old game, plowing the parking lot in the winter, mowing the lawns in the summer, or, what he considered the ‘greatest joy of his life’, meeting and greeting customers, many who visited Funspot themselves as children and were now bringing in their own children and grandchildren.
“Bob’s pockets were always full of Funspot’s gift cards and tokens that he joyfully gave away to the kids,” the Sun continued. It was because of the Covid shutdown that saw Bob, for the first time in 68 years, not at Funspot on a daily basis.
Apart from his devotion to his mega-arcade, the game business patriarch also put in several terms as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The state motto, “Live Free or Die,” appears on license plates as a result of a bill he introduced in the legislature back in 1969.
Bob is survived by wife Eva Ashton, daughters Donna and Sandra, sons Tim and David, four grandchildren as well as great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life was held Wed., Nov. 17, at Funspot’s Long Tavern.