In memory of
William G. Lawrence Sr.
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In memory of
William G. Lawrence Sr.
William Bill Gordon Lawrence, Sr, 92, husband of Mary Ann (Mills) Lawrence for almost 62 years, passed away peacefully at Keystone Villa in Douglassville on September 25, 2016. Born in Boston, MA, on April 26, 1824*, he was the son of the late Samuel Crocker and Margaret Eleanor (Gordon) Lawrence. His mother was the first registered US Girl Scout, as she was the niece of the Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low. His father set the world high jump record in 1912. Bills parents were direct descendants of generals who fought on opposite sides of the Civil War. He attended Saint Pauls School in New Hampshire and Harvard University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in physics. While at Harvard, he was an active member of the squash and pole vault squads. He was an US Army veteran of World War II and received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained on December 19, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, in Bastogne, Belgium. He also was awarded the Bronze Star and the Presidential Unit Citation. Once he recovered from his injuries, he assisted in the liberation of concentration camps in Germany. After his Harvard graduation, his work career led him to Pottstown as an assistant buyer for JJ Newberrys department store. Shortly after arriving in Pottstown, he joined Christ Episcopal Church and began singing in the choir. A fellow choir member, William Ellis Mills, introduced him to his younger sister Mary Ann, the granddaughter of Pottstown businessman Ellis Mills. He later was hired at Ellis Mills department store and worked in various capacities, including president. After 35 years at Ellis Mills, he retired in 1991. Bill was a longtime parishioner at Christ Church. As a member of the vestry, he also served faithfully as rectors warden and accounting warden. For many years he was a tenor in both the church choir and Coventry Singers. He enjoyed several enriching years in Toastmasters International, earning numerous awards for his rhetorical skill, an interest which helped hone his well-known wit and lively humor. Bill loved playing chess with his grandchildren, who affectionately called him Gumps. He was also an avid, lifelong tennis player. He was most at peace while sailing on Bass River, his boyhood summer home. He continued playing tennis and sailing wooden boats well into his late 80s. Today his grandson still sails the same wooden Beetle Cat PIXIE that Bills own father once sailed in the 1930s, ensuring that a 4th generation of Lawrences would sail the same family boat. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons: William G., Jr., husband of Elinor, South Yarmouth, MA; Robert M., husband of Sandra, Downingtown; Samuel F., husband of Susan, Pottstown. There are also three grandsons: Ian C., husband of Danielle, Seth A., and Samuel N.; one granddaughter, Jill M. Finally, he is survived by three step-grandchildren: Christina and Timothy Stubanas, and Tara Waterman, as well as four step-great-grandchildren: Tyler Whitehead, Isabelle Stubanas, Grayson, and Sumner Waterman. He was predeceased by three brothers: Franklin B., Samuel C., Jr., and David N. Memorial contributions may be made to Pottstown VNA/Hospice, 1170 Berkshire Blvd, Wyomissing, 19610, or Christ Episcopal Church, PO Box 252, 316 High Street, Pottstown, 19464. Funeral services were held at Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown, on October 4, 2016. Interment service followed in Edgewood Cemetery, Pottstown. Online condolences may be made to the family at
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Houck and Gofus Funeral Home
955 North Charlotte Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
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