Deceased November 6, 2012
My father, Richard H. “Dick” Lawrence, died Nov. 6, 2012, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
A 59-year resident of Westminster, Mass., Dick was born in Fitchburg, Mass. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., in 1946 and from Amherst in 1950 (cum laude), majoring in chemistry. While at Amherst he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He could not attend his Amherst graduation, because of a case of nephritis, and spent many months recovering at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Twenty-seven years later, he finally got to attend an Amherst graduation, when I received my diploma.
In his early years Dick worked at Simonds Saw and Steel as a product manager of machine knives. He then served as president of his family wholesale lumber business, the former Lawrence and Klein Lumber Co. He was president of the Dick Lawrence Lumber Co. until his retirement. Unlike his wholesale lumber competitors, he would regularly visit his lumberyard clients across Central and Western Massachusetts, including the yard off of College Street in Amherst, armed with samples and usually sporting one of his tweed hats. He was also a fixture at the Forbush Memorial Library in Westminster, Mass., where he was a clerk for many years.
Dick served on many boards and committees, including for the Red Cross, the regional high school, the 4-H garden club, the local library and church and the New England Wholesale Lumber Association, which he served as treasurer, secretary and president. He was a lifelong gardener, an expert on wood and a knowledgeable amateur botanist, often spotting rare wildflowers, plants and trees. In his later years he allowed his beloved garden to go wild, and it was replaced each summer by waves of purple and blue lupines.
He leaves his wife of 60 years, Elaine M. (Wenzel); three sons, Richard H. III, Roger W. ’77 and John C.; eight grandchildren; two sisters; and many nieces and nephews.
Roger Lawrence ’77