Bob Lawton, owner of world's largest arcade, dies at 90

Funspot arcade in Laconia, N.H., is seen closed for the day in 2014 as winter storm passes through northern New England. Bob Lawton, the owner of Funspot, the world’s largest arcade, was a regular presence dressed in red suspenders and handing out free tokens to kids until his death on Nov. 11 at the age of 90.

LACONIA, N.H. (AP) — Bob Lawton, the owner of the world’s largest arcade, was a regular presence dressed in red suspenders and handing out free tokens to kids at Funspot until his death Nov. 11 at the age of 90.

Lawton started the Laconia, New Hampshire, business in 1952 after borrowing $750 from his grandma to build a mini-golf course in the Weirs, New Hampshire Public Radio reported on Friday.

Seven decades later, Lawton transformed the mini-golf course into a destination for more than 600 types of arcade games — from pinball to bowling and Skee-Ball — which earned his business the Guinness World Records title as the world’s largest videogame arcade.

During Lawton’s memorial service on Wednesday, a 40-year Funspot employee, Gary Vincent said “(Funspot) was his life. This was like another child to him. And he loved every day that he was here.”

Friends of Lawton’s called him the Walt Disney of the North County.

In contrast to Lawton’s larger-than-life arcade owner persona, he also served in the military and later as a New Hampshire state representative.

Lawton’s family is keeping Funspot open, the radio station said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.