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
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.