Mark A. Lawrence ’61
Deceased July 22, 2011
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Mark Lawrence was shot to death on July 22, 2011, in his home office in McLean, Va., by a psychiatric patient whom he had been working assiduously to help. The shooter then killed herself.
Mark was known universally among his Amherst classmates and his colleagues in the field of psychiatry as a man of great gentleness, empathy and dedication to helping others.
The tragic and unexpected nature of Mark’s death and its proximity to our 50th reunion led to an outpouring of tributes to Mark on the Class of 1961 listserv. Those tributes reveal, as one wrote, “an exceptionally kind and gentle man who was devoted to his profession.” Many classmates recounted conversations over the years with Mark at our reunions. Those conversations showed a person with unfailing interest in the lives, achievements and ideas of others. As another classmate, a fellow physician, said, “We have lost one of our best classmates while he was doing his honorable duty for one of his patients.”
Memories of Mark ranged from working together in Valentine Hall to sharing study space before final exams to the more intimate exercise of dissecting a cadaver named Jeff with fellow Amherst graduates in medical school. On a personal note, Mark and I were good friends in college, fellow history majors and shared many long and fruitful conversations.
Mark, who began life as Mark Lawrence Stiglitz, grew up in Gary, Ind. After Amherst, where he was near the top of our class in GPA and a leader in many activities, and Harvard Medical School, he trained at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He served over time as a mentor to hundreds of therapists.
Mark is survived by his loving wife, Karen; their daughter, Katherine; son-in-law Darryl Weber; and grandson Julian.
—Earl Dudley ’61