John Charles Lawrence
1922 - 2021
Floyd Mortuary and Crematory Inc. - Lumberton
809 East 5th Street
Lumberton, NC


LUMBERTON — John Charles Lawrence, loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and skilled surgeon, passed away Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Wesley Pines in Lumberton. He was 99 years old, having been born Aug. 7, 1922, in Florence County, South Carolina, to Rufus Earl and Clyda Wiggins Lawrence. He was the fourth of six children.

Dr. Lawrence was a graduate of the University of South Carolina. He met his wife, Gerry Hare, in college, where he served in Naval ROTC. After graduation in December 1943, he was commissioned to the USS Kilty in the Pacific, where he earned five stars for participating in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Philippines and Okinawa campaigns of World War II. In May 1945 he was ordered to report to USNR Flight School in Dallas, Texas, for flight training. His orders changed when the war abruptly ended, and he then served at the Pentagon during the demobilization of naval personnel.

After being released from active duty, Dr. Lawrence entered Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1946. As a freshman at Vanderbilt, he was one of the first people to receive Dr. Earnest Goodpasture's chicken embryo influenza vaccine, after which he never had the flu. During his senior year of medical school he served as class president and graduated in 1950.

After graduation from medical school Dr. Lawrence, his wife and young son moved to the Panama Canal Zone, where he completed a U.S. Army surgical internship at Gorgas Hospital. He and his family then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he completed his surgical residency training at Crawford Long Hospital at Emory University. Following his residency, Dr. Lawrence was a preceptor at Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia. After receiving his board certification in 1957, he accepted an invitation to join Southeastern Surgical Group in Lumberton. Dr. Lawrence devoted the rest of his career to improving the health of the people of Robeson and surrounding counties. He retired in June 1990.

An avid fisherman, Dr. Lawrence enjoyed annual salmon fishing trips in Alaska (15 years) with his son until John's untimely death in 2006. Dr. Lawrence also enjoyed many quail hunting and fishing trips with special friends, including Willie Linkhaw, Judge Sandy McKinnon, Malcolm McLeod, Wyman Scarboro, Alton Price and Duval Lennon. For years, he found quiet joy in fishing or feeding the Canada geese at the farm and ponds of close friend John Pat Buie. He was a generous but usually anonymous philanthropist, and he delivered Meals on Wheels for 15 years, first with his wife and then with a daughter.

Dr. Lawrence was preceded in death by his parents; four of his five siblings; his wife of almost 55 years, Gerry Hare Lawrence; his son, John Charles Lawrence Jr.; and his daughter, Patricia Lynn Lawrence. He leaves behind his sister, Gene Lawrence Morrison of Boulder, Colorado; his four daughters, Dr. Deborah Jane Lawrence of Durham, Pamela Lawrence Kattan (Tony) of Raleigh, Dr. Barbara Kay Lawrence (Greg Liles) of Littleton, and Amy Suzanne Lawrence of Winston-Salem; his daughter-in-law, Linda Lane Lawrence of Seattle, Washington; his grandchildren, Justin Lawrence, Matthew Lawrence (Kristin), Robert Lawrence (Devon), Gabby Kattan, Samantha Kattan, Allie Kattan, and Lynley Liles; and his great-grandchildren, Beau and James Lawrence, and John Owen Lawrence; and his beloved Corgi, Sammy III.

As a scientist and medical professional, Dr. Lawrence witnessed the power of vaccinations to change the health of the world for the better. Because of his education and experiences, he was a strong proponent of vaccinations. He knew that vaccinations help protect not only the individual, but also the health of those around them. He chose to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, because others did not make the same choice, he recently contracted the virus, and it hastened his death.

To his family, Dr. Lawrence was a prince of a man, but was always very humble regarding his intelligence and skills. He was truly a part of "The Greatest Generation." He will be sorely missed.

There will be a private graveside service at the family cemetery in Florence County, South Carolina.

The family wishes to thank the sitters, caregivers and nursing staff at Wesley Pines, in particular the ones working on Lantana Hall who became family over the past 21 months.

Published by The Robesonian from Sep. 3 to Sep. 4, 2021.
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Funeral services provided by:
Floyd Mortuary and Crematory Inc. - Lumberton
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17 Entries
My deepest sympathy to the family. His daughter, Lynn was a beloved classmate of mine all our years thru grade school and high school. Dr Lawrence truly was deserving member of "The Greatest Generation," as was my uncle Sandy McKinnon. God Bless their soles.
Earle Bowman
September 7, 2021
So sorry for your loss. Dr. Lawrence was a wonderful surgeon and a kind person. Many high school days were spent at the Lawrence house with Lynn. The family was always friendly and kind to me when I visited. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love,
Joy Thrower Martin
September 7, 2021

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of Mr. John Lawrence during this most difficult time. I pray that Gods caring and comforting presence will be bestowed upon you and may his presence help ease the pain of your loss.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins
September 7, 2021
Pam and family, We are so sad that your Dad has passed away. We know how much you will miss him. What a legacy he has left for you girls.
With love and sympathy, Wanda & Jeff Musselwhite
Wanda Musselwhite
September 5, 2021
We are so sorry for your loss!. We always enjoyed meeting and talking with Dr. Lawrence at the beach house and at Kay’s. His love for his family was always evident!. After reading his obituary, WOW! What a great legacy! Our prayers for the entire family!
Linwood & Kathy Acree
September 5, 2021
Our family is saddened by the passing of Dr. Lawrence. Billy Butler, our family member , was friends with him and thought well of him as we did also. His passing will leave an emptiness no one else will fill. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all . He was a nice, well respected man. May God's ever presence bring you peace & precious memories bring you comfort in the coming days, weeks & months ahead.

Frances Butler, Julie Martin, Amy McQueen & Billy Butler
September 4, 2021
A remarkable individual. He and his family were great friends of the Lennons! Deepest sympathy to the extended family.
George Lennon
September 4, 2021
I worked with Dr. Lawrence for many years at SRMC. He was a very gentle individual and will be missed by all who knew him.
J. I Britt
September 4, 2021
Missy, Mark, Tanner & Sarah
September 4, 2021
A true American hero. RIP
Jimmy Watson
September 4, 2021
Dr. Lawrence was a great surgeon and man. I told him that if I ever had to have a c-section he was going to have to do it for me. Never wanted another doctor to operate on me. He was loved by my parents as well. He will be missed by all. In my prayers and thoughts.
Cynthia Taylor
September 4, 2021
Dr. Lawrence was a kind and caring physician and all around great man. My Dad, Jack Bryan, thought the world of Dr. Lawrence. Growing up in Lumberton we were most fortunate to have Dr. Lawrence and his family as a part of our lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Kathy Bryan Smith
September 4, 2021
Lumberton has lost a true southern Christian gentleman! Dr. Lawrence served the people of our community for generations and we are so blessed to have had him as a physician and citizen of Lumberton. He will be missed by all that knew and loved him. My thoughts and prayers are with my classmate and friend Debbie and all the Lawrence girls and family. In his honor and memory I hope that many people will choose to get vaccinated against Covid. I am proud to say I have chosen to be vaccinated! Dr. Lawrence was indeed a part of The Greatest Generation.
Katherine Culbreth Martin
September 3, 2021
We are so sorry to hear of Dr. Lawrence’s death. We enjoyed our visits with him at Wesley Pines pre-pandemic. Our love and sympathy to his family.
Finley and Ruth Resd
September 3, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Helen Nicholson
September 3, 2021
He was a fine person and will surely be missed. Prayers for his family
Monroe Williams
September 3, 2021
I worked with Dr Lawrence as a young nurse. He was a respected surgeon and Christian man. He will be missed!
Gwendolyn Gifford
September 3, 2021
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