WARNER, N.H. - Rodger H. Lawrence, 89, passed away peacefully on Father's Day, June 15, 2014, at Pine Rock Manor in Warner, New Hampshire, where he had been residing since January.
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Rodger was born on Feb. 27, 1925, in Montpelier, Vermont, the oldest son of Merle and Ethel (Hughes) Lawrence. He spent his childhood in Worcester and Adamant, Vermont, moving to Montpelier with his family to attend high school, graduating in 1944.
Following graduation he entered the U.S. Army, first as an engineering student in the Corps of Engineers and later as a private first class serving as a BAR man in the Battle of the Bulge. He served with distinction, receiving medals for heroism and a Purple Heart for significant frostbite experienced during the campaign.
After the war, he returned to Vermont, where he enrolled in the University of Vermont under the GI Bill, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. It was there that he met and married Paulyne "Polly" St. John, his wife of 64 years. The couple has two sons, Dana Lawrence, of East Montpelier, Vermont, and Gregory Lawrence, of Cropseyville, New York. Rodger was hired by the Veterans Administration in 1951 as a hospital management engineer in charge of the buildings and grounds first of the VA Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, and later the VA Hospital in Canandaigua, New York, the largest psychiatric unit in the VA system. He and Polly retired in 1982 and returned to Vermont.
As a youth growing up in Vermont, Rodger acquired a lifelong passion for fishing, hunting and the outdoors which he actively pursued from early childhood until near the end of his life and generously shared with his extended family. The many stories of these adventures will live on with his family and the many others who shared them.
Rodger was a proud father and grandfather who shared not only his love but the gift of his skilled hands, whether it was building a barn, renovating a house or fixing a car. His family will carry forward memories of these times and the skills and self-reliance he taught us.
Rodger was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Evelyn Rockwell, of Westerly, Rhode Island. His wife, Polly Lawrence, also 89, currently lives at The Gardens in Williamstown, Vermont. His brother, Bradley Lawrence, lives in Burlington, Vermont, and has two sons, David, Atlanta, Georgia, and Christopher, Montpelier, Vermont. Rodger's grandchildren are grandsons Patrick and Christopher Lawrence (sons of Gregory Lawrence, Cropseyville, New York) and Isaac and Maija Lawrence (son and daughter of Dana Lawrence, Burlington, Vermont).
Rodger was a man with great energy and passion for life. He will be missed but remembered lovingly. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier on Saturday, June 28, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to the state of Vermont, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Wildlife Fund.
Published in Times Argus on June 26, 2014