Obituary of Ernest Richard Lawrence
Ernest “Ernie” Richard Lawrence, 79, of Colorado Springs, Colorado passed away April 17, 2023. He died peacefully in his sleep, likely from a cardiac event.
Ernie was born March 18, 1944 to Ernest and Dorothy Lawrence in Muskogee, Oklahoma and spent his early childhood in the suburbs of Chicago and in Minnesota. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1966. Music was a big part of his early life – he started playing drums as a boy, founded a rock and roll band as a teenager, and managed a radio station in college.
In 1965, Ernie spent the summer working in Glacier Park in St. Mary, Montana where he met Janice “Jan” Mary Ann Herzog from Albany, Minnesota. That summer romance evolved into “the love of his life and his lifelong best friend” and they were married on November 25, 1967. Ernie entered Officers Candidate School and was posted as a Second Lieutenant in Nuremberg, Germany where he was promoted to First Lieutenant. After Stacy Lynette was born in 1969, he and Jan returned to Minnesota.
Ernie began a career in advertising and later moved the family to Colorado where he earned an MBA at the University of Denver. In 1972, Shannon Elise arrived, and his daughter trifecta was completed in 1974 with the birth of Susan Shari. Following completion of his degree, Ernie worked in marketing at Samsonite where he loved his frequent domestic and international travels.
In 1979, Ernie and the family moved to Naperville, Illinois for a new role at Stiffel Lamps. There he started a running streak that would last five years, running 1,849 consecutive days for a total of 8,333 miles in cities in the United States and around the world. After two years in the Midwest, the family relocated again to Randolph, New Jersey for Ernie’s new role at the Paul Hanson Lamp Company that later evolved into leading a group of furniture accessory businesses under the umbrella of The Chartwell Group. Ernie would spend the next sixteen years in New Jersey, building lifelong friendships and watching all his children grow up and graduate high school.
Ernie went on to lead other companies, one of which took him and Jan to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in 1996. There he deepened his love of golf and his frustration with his mediocre game. He and Jan welcomed their first of seven grandchildren in 1999 which became a major focus of their lives. His big retirement passion project would bring together his interests in Native American history and photography. After years of research and work, Ernie’s book, “Alone with the Past: The Life and Photographic Art of Roland W. Reed” was published in 2012.
In 2016, Ernie and Jan relocated to Colorado, settling in the “Springs.” There he loved reconnecting with dear old friends from Denver, enjoying daily views of “America’s Mountain,” exploring the West, documenting his families’ histories, and celebrating fifty-five years with his beloved wife and partner, Jan.
Ernie was a deeply devoted husband, who adored his wife most of all and was so grateful for her love and support of him. He was also an incredibly proud father. He took great satisfaction in being able to put his three daughters through college and sharing in their subsequent achievements. He treasured his grandchildren, spoiling them with M&Ms and donuts, entertaining them with his drum set and silly hat collection, playfully teasing them and counting how many times they used “like” in a sentence. Ernie was a self-proclaimed curmudgeon but as one friend described, “more like a baguette, crusty on the outside with a touch of salt, and soft on the inside.” He loved to impart knowledge and share his “Ernieisms” with all who would listen. Ernie was truly one-of-a-kind and we will miss him dearly.
In addition to Jan, Stacy (Marcus) LaiFook of Loveland, Ohio, Shannon (Roy Adkins) Lawrence of London, England, and Susan (John) Kelly of Davis, California, Ernie is survived by his sister, Debbie of Loveland, Colorado; his brother, Jack of Belfair, Washington; and his adored grandchildren, Mitchell, Marlo, and Mason LaiFook, Anna and Jess Kelly, and Avery and Piper Adkins.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to One Nation Walking Together (www.onenationwt.org).
Funeral Mass, 12:30PM, Saturday, May 6, 2023, St. Gabriel the Archangel, 8755 Scarborough Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 89020. Reception details to follow.