Deceased September 15, 2022
Laurie entered Amherst eager to test and enlarge himself. He had already developed a lasting closeness to Earth and nature through camping, 4-H Club programs and his family’s residence at Great Oak Farm, with its 400-year-old oak tree of historical significance in Ledyard, Conn. His Amherst friendships and activities encouraged him toward a lifetime of church ministry. The Christian Association had a large and active membership with strong leaders, including two of Laurie’s closest friends. Amherst’s chaplain John Coburn was a major presence in campus spiritual and sports arenas, introducing lacrosse as a club sport, which Laurie also joined. He often entered into the challenging debates of our core intellectual group, recalling argumentative sessions with Andy Hacker ’51, Howie Ziff ’52 and philosophy professor Sterling Lamprecht.
This intertwining of the natural and spiritual worlds lasted a full and rich lifetime, as expressed by Laurie for our 60th reunion, when he claimed the symbolic joy of planting and harvesting for the purpose of giving and sharing with others as his central mission.
Laurie graduated from Drew Theological School in 1956 and St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas as a doctor of ministry in 1987. His parishes in the Methodist church were located in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont during his most active years and later in Kansas, with interim pastorates to be nearer family before his death on Sept. 15, 2022.
His wife, Jean Shepard, shared all his passions: justice, gardening, mission, family, pastoral care, travel, history and music. Laurie’s notable milestones included assisting in his son’s wedding ceremony; baptizing a new grandson in Kansas City; and, in Boston, baptizing their first great-grandchild, Sophie.
Jean S. Hill and family, Nick Evans ’52