Judge Kent Lawrence
1947 - 2020
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
4355 Lexington Road
Athens, GA
1947 - 2020 Judge Kent Lawrence passed away Friday, March 13, 2020 after an extended illness. He was born in Central, South Carolina on June 3, 1947. He was the son of the late Norman & Clyde Lawrence.

Kent signed a football scholarship with the University of Georgia after being recruited by Coach Vince Dooley in 1965. While at Georgia, he lettered in both football and track. One of his top football achievements was his performance in the 1966 Cotton Bowl Game, against SMU, where he earned MVP honors rushing for 149 yards. He was later inducted into the Cotton Bowl Football Hall of Fame.

After graduation from UGA, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and later played for the Atlanta Falcons.

In 1968, he returned to Athens to work for the UGA Police Department as a patrol officer and detective. In 1974, he was selected to be the first Police Chief of the newly established Clarke County Police Department. While pursuing his law degree at Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta. He worked fulltime as a special investigator with the District Attorney's Office prior to becoming a prosecuting attorney.

In 1985, he was appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris as State Court Judge of Clarke County where he faithfully served for 26 years. Judge Lawrence joined the State DUI Task Force in 1992, and in 2001, he established the first DUI Court in the State of Georgia. During his time on the bench, Judge Lawrence started the county probation office. He retired as Chief Judge of the State Court of Clarke County in 2011.

Kent was a long-time member of Tuckston United Methodist Church and was an active member of the Northeast GA Emmaus Community. Outside of work, he enjoyed attending UGA sporting events, golfing, fishing, and taking trips with family.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Karlene Kleckner Lawrence; five children: Kelley (Sarah) Lawrence of Augusta, GA; Kami (Chris) Roberts of Blackshear, GA; Kimberly (Mark) Costello of Athens, GA; Bobby (Christine) Longmire of Denver, CO; and John (Julie) Longmire of South Riding, VA. His fifteen grandchildren: Anna, Lucy, and Ben Lawrence; Joshua, Kellen, Claire, and Allen Roberts; Lauren and Andrew Costello; Bobby, Elliana, and Grayson Longmire; and Clara, Daisy, and Josephine Longmire, with another Longmire on the way. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ruth Lawrence; his brother, Bobby (Terri) Lawrence; along with a niece, Lyn (John) Mixon; and several nephews, Chuck Lawrence; Jeffrey (Amber) Lawrence; and Kevin (Cary) Lawrence.

He was predeceased by his parents, Norman and Clyde Lawrence; and his brother, Charles Lawrence.

In the interest of current public health concerns, a public memorial service and celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.

Throughout his life, Kent continually served, saved lives and witnessed to others. A scholarship endowment for a student athlete pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice has been established in his memory. This is one way that his legacy can keep on giving.

Contributions can be mailed to:

The Judge Kent Lawrence Football Scholarship Endowment Fund

UGA Athletic Association, PO Box 1472, Athens, GA. 30602


Online at:


Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, 4355 Lexington Road, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com

Published by Athens Banner-Herald from Mar. 16 to Mar. 17, 2020.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
1:00p.m. - 3:00p.m.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
4355 Lexington Road, Athens, GA
6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
4355 Lexington Road, Athens, GA
Funeral service
Tuckston United Methodist Church
Athens, GA
Funeral services provided by:
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home - East Chapel
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36 Entries
I remember when Mr Lawrence came to Ga !I have Sister that still lives in Central Sc ,I was impressed how he lived so close to Clemson S C and chose Ga .I followed his Ga career And never forgot how fortunate to have him in a Ga Bulldog Uniform ,Im still impressed with Kent Lawrence Ga running back and Lawyer God Bless his family....
Randall Graham
March 20, 2020
So shocked and saddened to hear about my classmate and friend from Central Elementary and Daniel High. My condolences to all his family.
ken chappell
March 18, 2020
Great man rest in peace.
Mike & Fran Walker
March 18, 2020
I was dyed in Red and Black Wool, back in 1959. I was lucky to see Kent play many times during his days at Georgia. I was really blessed to see the Dogs play SMU in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Eve 1966, when Kent, on the second play from scrimmage, scorched the SMU defense for a 74 yard touchdown! The Dogs won 24-9....and that happened largely, due to the spark Kent provided!
Of course, he went on to even greater accomplishments in Athens. He was an a professional football player, educator, a police officer, mentor, and State Court Judge. To me, his greatest accomplishment was the role he assumed of being an advocate for those who ran afoul of the law. He was a tough judge....but those who lean on us the most, usually have the greatest impact on us......and that is exactly what Judge Lawrence did. He saved a lot of people's lives and inspired them, by giving them the "tough love" they needed.
Thanks Kent for being a great Bulldog...but thanks even more, for being an exceptional human being, who made this world a better place...especially Athens! God rest your soul and Goooooooo Dawgs!!!!
Robert Daniell
Metter, GA
Robert A. Daniell
March 17, 2020
Sincere condolences go out to the entire Lawrence family. Kent leaves an amazing legacy to all of those who cherish his memory. He was a great athlete whom fans cheered, and a judicial advocate who changed lives.
Maye Hayes Jepson
March 17, 2020
A friend who leaves a legacy in so many ways. His family are in my thoughts and prayers.
David Anglin
March 17, 2020
Karlene and Lawrence family:

Kent was a true friend and teammate at Georgia. He always had a great smile and disposition. He made us all proud with his achievements in making a difference in the community. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks.

"Keep the Faith!"
Jim Massey
March 17, 2020
Sending my sincere sympathies.
Brenda Arrington Poss
March 17, 2020
Kent was a true hero! He was an exceptional athlete and an even better friend. Rest in Peace, Kent.
David Lee
March 16, 2020
Rest In Peace.... You'll be missed dearly.
James Neal III
March 16, 2020
My thoughts and prayers are with the Lawrence family. Judge Lawrence was such a humble man, he never realized the impact he had on so many lives. He was such a genuinely nice person who was always willing to help you. Thank you for everything you did. Thank you for being such a leader in establishing DUI Courts in Georgia and around the country. We will miss you.
Sandy Richardson
March 16, 2020
Kent was a real sweetheart. I had the honor of meeting Kent and his lovely family last year. Even when he was having a bad day he would give me that sparkling smile and a hug. I would ask him if he loved me and he would always tell that he loved me and we would have a conversation about whatever he wanted to talk about. Karlene you and your family are in my continuous prayers during this difficult time. Im praying that you guys find comfort in knowing that Kent's always with you guys in spirit and in your hearts. When you're feeling down just think of all the great times you guys had as a couple and as a family. Karlene if you ever need to talk you have my number love you
Elesie Baker
March 16, 2020
At this difficult time I would like to share my deepest deepest condolences to mrs. Lawrence may you and your children's find peace and comfort what a great judge he was long live Kent Lawrence
Lisa Lumpkin Williams
March 16, 2020
My earliest memories of UGA football are filled with plays that he made. Thanks for all the memories Kent!
David Hendrix
March 15, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family of Judge Kent Lawrence.Kent was a great friend and coworker.I always had the greatest respect for him.We looked out for each other and I never Questioned his friendship.Men of his caliber are few and far between.
Ronald M Chandler
March 15, 2020
A remarkable man who impacted so many lives in so many ways. Through our time together on the NADCP Board, he became a friend and mentor. He served and loved his family and so many others.
His life is a legacy to making a difference.
Judge Chuck Simmons
March 15, 2020
Those of us who served with Judge Lawrence on Governor Miller's DUI Task Force recall his wisdom and leadership. His work in criminal justice reform was historical and served as a model for so many courts in our state. Judge Lawrence was a great jurist and will be fondly remembered and missed.
Gary E. Jackson
Atlanta Municipal Court
Gary E Jackson
March 14, 2020
Judge Kent Lawrence blessed our lives when he called to discuss his plans to start his DWI Court program. His vision, hard work, and compassionate dedication would result in the transformation of countless people's lives not only in Athens but throughout the criminal justice system in Georgia and across the USA. He was a trusted expert and faculty member of the National Center for DWI Courts where he mentored teams from programs far and wide. He received the DWI Court Leadership award from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals National Center for DWI Courts. We hung out in his basement, went to Bulldog football games, and shared many stories. He was my roommate at conferences and we helped each other with our speeches. Kent shared his family with us too. Karlene and all the kids meant everything to him. And his spiritual connection to God and Jesus Christ never wavered. It guided him in everything he did. He taught us humility and grace and love and forgiveness. He remains in our hearts forever. Judge Mike Kavanaugh, Mark Pickle, Cliff Jacobs
J. Michael Kavanaugh
March 14, 2020
Robert Murphy
March 14, 2020
Kent brought integrity and progressive insight to the bench. He will be missed.
J. Glenn Brown
March 14, 2020
J Michael Kavanaugh
March 14, 2020
Frank and Crossie Cox in Clemson send our sincere sympathy to the wonderful Lawrence family. Kent and I were on the Daniel High School football team together - he was a gifted athlete and an even better teammate and man. We remember his fondly.
Frank Cox
March 14, 2020
I tried several important cases in his Court. He was a great Judge. Having been a bulldog fan from way back, it was always extra special to associate with him in the legal arena. My best to his family. He was special in so many ways.
Weymon Forrester
March 14, 2020
My sympathy to the family. A great Dawg, friend and. Judge, It was my great pleasure to sit on the bench for him in the past. Judge George Bryant, Royston Ga.
March 14, 2020
Sending prayers to Judge Lawrence family, friends and colleagues.
Polly Penson
March 14, 2020
My deepest condolences to the family. Judge Lawrence was truly a Legend!
Ben Richardson
March 14, 2020
Judge Lawrence was a very special person . A good man! I watched the positive impact that he made in many lives, by coming down from the bench and showing that he cared. RIP. You will be missed.
Jim Daniel
March 14, 2020
Kent & I were friends & fraternity brothers (Kappa Sigma) @ UGA. We also lived in the athletic dorm together as I played baseball. We took several trips together to his home in S.C. & skiing in N.C. I cherished our friendship. When I started practicing law in 1974, Kent was in law enforcement & became Chief of Police. Hopefully, I was an influence for him becoming an attorney. And so proud of the man, attorney & judge who was caring & concerned in the lives of others. He applied his advocacy, influence & efforts to heal & improve their lives, especially those suffering with addictions. Until we meet again Kent! Love & comfort to his family & friends. Kit Bradshaw, Esq. (Captain Baseball 1969)
Kit Bradshaw
March 14, 2020
RIP Kent thanks for the memories
Gary Thomas
March 14, 2020
While a man of so many talents and accomplishments, he was so humble that you would not be aware of his accomplishments in sports and on the bench. He was fun to be around.
mat. robins
March 14, 2020
Kent was one of the first judges I got to know on the State Court bench in the mid 1980's. He became a mentor and good friend over the years. He was a caring, innovative judge and a good man. I was blessed to have known him. I will pray for his family.
Richard Cowart
March 14, 2020
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Homes
March 16, 2020
So sorry to here this, Kent and I had several classes together while at UGA and became good friends.
He will be missed by all . May you RIP 24 DGD!!
Prayers out to family and friends
Doug Roe
March 13, 2020
One of the greatest men I've had the privilege of meeting and getting to know in my professional and personal career. Had the great opportunity to serve as a UGA law school clerk for him during my time in law school and cherished him as a friend and mentor as I got to know him and his wife Karlene through their affiliation with the UGA gymnastics program as I dated my now wife who is a GymDog alum. Judge Lawrence was and remains a great man and I know he is smiling down on us from above today. Thoughts and prayers to his family, but they should be so proud of the legacy he left. Thanks, Kent, for all those you touched and influenced!
Barrett Malone
March 13, 2020
My first memories of UGA football are directly related to Kent Lawrence and Kirby Moore. I received a Georgia jersey for Christmas in 1966. Number 24.

I never got to meet him but the memories will last until I pass. I suspect this was tough on coach Dooley, as for the remaining teammates.

Quite a man , and quite the dawg.
May he Rest In Peace and thanks for the precious memories.
John McCarthy
March 13, 2020
Shared many a meal time in the presence of this terrific man in association with the Friday Lunch Bunch. I experienced him as thoughtful and respectful.
Doug Bower
March 13, 2020
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