A 56 year resident of Centralia, William Hobart (Bill) Lawrence age 89 passed away January 30th at Oak Wood Haven Home in Centralia. He was surrounded by family and loving friends. Bill was born in Washington, D.C. November 9, 1921. He was the first child of Ralph Eldridge and Ruth Davis Lawrence.
Bill's wife, Gerrie, passed away in April of 2007, after nearly 60 years of marriage. Bill is survived by his son's and families: Robert D. Lawrence and Judi, Darfield, NZ, Janette P. Lawrence, Seattle, WA; Wm E. "Buff" Lawrence and Molly, Butte Falls, OR; J. H. "Bart" Lawrence and Nirmala, Barrigada, GU, Carl I. Lawrence and Karen, Seattle, WA, 11 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Bill was cared for and loved by many in his extended family, including Denise Shero, Bev Chester, Bill Brumsickle, the wonderful caregivers at Oak Wood Haven and Assured Home Health Care, and numerous others. The Weyerhaeuser family were always available to support Bill and the Lawrence family. His extended circle of friends kept him engaged and happy in the twilight of life, playing cribbage, taking him to count trains, out for a meal, to the bookstore, bird watching or to visit Gerrie's grave.
Bill was a founding influence for the Timberland Regional Library serving on their board for many years. He also served on the Centralia Community College Board, he was emeritus faculty at the University of Michigan and the University of Washington and was a Presidential (Carter) Appointee to the U.S. EPA advisory board. Bill was a decorated World War II veteran, rising to the rank of Captain. He received a purple heart and bronze star for his service in the Philippines. Bill served in the Korean conflict. Moving with Gerrie to Centralia in 1955 to raise his family, he retired after 30 years with Weyerhaeuser as Director of the George R. Staebler Forestry Research Center. In "retirement" Bill enjoyed carving and canoeing and traveling with Gerrie. His detailed eye produced many treasured Northwest Coast Native American carvings; he introduced many to preserving this traditional cultural art. He and Gerrie visited New Zealand, Guam and traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest. Bill enjoyed bird watching and river trips across the western United States.
He spent most of the last 10 years in active care of Gerrie.
A gathering to recognize his life is set for Saturday March 19, 2011 at 2:00pm at the First United Methodist Church in Centralia. Bill's ashes will be placed in a plot next to Gerrie on the Chehalis Indian Reservation. Cards and letters may be sent in c/o Bill Lawrence to:
George R. Staebler Research Center. Weyerhaeuser Company, 505 North Pearl Street, Centralia, WA 98531. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that any donations be made to the Timberland Regional Library, c/o Bill Lawrence Endowment, 415 Tumwater Blvd. SW, Tumwater, WA 98501 or online at www.trlfoundation.org/
giving.html or, to the First United Methodist Church, 506 South Washington Ave, Centralia, WA 98531, for the many years of fellowship and support this church has provided the Lawrence family.
Please sign the guest book at www.legacy.com/chronline
This obituary was originally published in The Chronicle Newspaper.