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W. Lawrence Hartzog Sr.

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W. LAWRENCE HARTZOG SR., 74, died unexpectedly of a heart aneurysm at his home on Sunday, August 29th. Lawrence was born on February 1st, 1930 to Yancy and Mary Georgia Hartzog in Edgefield, AL. He was the sixteenth of eighteen children. Graduated from Bakerhill High School in 1948, where he was the only male in the graduating class of thirteen. He married Dorothy Elaine Burch on March 14th, 1951 in Montgomery, AL. He has always been in the food business where he got his start at the A&P Groceries as a bookkeeper. From there he went to the Food Center Groceries in Memphis, TN as a manager. He moved to Jackson, MS, in order to manage a Hart's Bakery. In 1964 he came to Houston to open 25 Hart's Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants - all within 2 1/2 years. He always considered Colonel Sanders as a personal friend who was always a welcomed guest when visiting Houston. Lawrence was the last franchisee that Colonel Sanders personally signed up. In 1968 he franchised 20 Roy Rogers Roast Beef restaurants in Texas, Arizona, California and New York. Two years later, he bought Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In 1972 he started his own chicken restaurant chain, calling them Hartz Chicken. He built 45 stores in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, which he sold in 1986. He and his wife then retired in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. They returned to Texas to be closer to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, where they settled on lake front property on Lake Limestone in Groesbeck, TX. Faith and relationships were his priorities and he was most happy when surrounded by family. Some of his proudest moments were attending the various sports and activities of his grandchildren. He served as Deacon/Elder in various congregations throughout his life. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Groesbeck Church of Christ. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and all who knew him. We love you Paw Paw! Lawrence is survived by his wife of 53 years, Elaine Hartzog of Groesbeck, TX. Son, Larry Hartzog and wife LaDonna of San Antonio, daughter Sharon Jesse and husband Joel of Houston, daughter Brenda Fry and husband Gordon of Houston, and daughter Julie Willis and husband Barry of Austin; 15 grandchildren: Shannon Cross, Georgia Hartzog, Michael Hartzog and wife Emily, Emily and Regan Jesse, Mason Mercer, Katie Fry, Max and Meredith Mercer of Houston, TX; Danielle Fry of Rye, CO; Nic Jesse of Annapolis, MD; Wes and Bryce Willis of Austin, TX; Jackson and Shelby Hartzog of San Antonio, TX; and 4 great-grandchildren; Cooper Nelson, H! ailey Cross, Hudson and Jack Hartzog of Houston. Of his seventeen siblings, he is survived by his sister, Dorothy Ann Johnson of Mobile, AL. There are also numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be from 6 to 8pm on Wednesday, Woodlawn Funeral Home. Funeral services - 10AM Thursday Sept. 2nd, 2004 at the Bammel Road Church of Christ, 2700 West FM 1960, with Mr. Howard Mahle officiating. Interment to follow at Woodlawn Garden of Memories. In lieu of flowers, a W. Lawrence Hartzog memorial fund has been established at the State Bank of Texas, c/o Bill Black, 3330 Antoine, Houston, TX 77292.

Published in Houston Chronicle on Sept. 1, 2004
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