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JAMES HOWARD LAWRENCE

Obituary
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READFIELD -- James Howard Lawrence of Readfield passed away peacefully on March 22, 2012. He was born in New York City on June 14, 1921, the second son of Ruth (Beiman) and Gilbert Friedenwald.

He will be remembered as a loving father who was always ready for spontaneous adventure.

Jim grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., attending Great Neck High School. In school, Jim was a wrestler and football player, but spent summers in Maine at Camp Menatoma. The camp was built by his father in 1926 and ran until 1976.

After high school, Jim attended Principia College, graduating in 1942. As a college senior, he enlisted in the Marine Corps officer training program. Capt. James Lawrence served in World War II in the Pacific Theater as a Corsair F4U fighter pilot with the VMF 223.

Honorably discharged in 1947, Jim worked with his father at the camp and later attended the Teachers College of Columbia University, receiving a master's degree in education.

Jim soon found that his real passion was flying. In the late 1940s, he spent some years as a bush pilot flying in the Moosehead Lake region for Folsom's Air service in Greenville. He also flew in the Rangeley Lakes for trapping camps and continued flying small aircraft well into his 80s.

When Jim's father passed around 1951, he took over the camping business, which ran until 1976. He was dedicated to enriching the lives of the young men who attended Menatoma. The camp offered a variety of athletics and activities aimed at personal development, teamwork and appreciation of the outdoors. The camp's motto, "Think of the other fellow first," was a cornerstone of its success.

Jim married Elizabeth Nash Tyler of Mamaroneck, N.Y., in 1961. They began raising a family and moved to Readfield permanently in 1964.

In the late 1970s, Jim began work as a real estate developer and assisted his wife on occasion with the Sunshine Nursery School. He was known affectionately to all students there as "Jimmy-baby."

As a lifelong Christian Scientist, Jim served for a time as First Reader at the First Church of Christ Scientist, Augusta. He also worked for more than 18 years as the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Maine, a position responsible for engagement with media and state Legislatures on issues relating to Christian Science.

Jim was predeceased by his wife, Betty; and son Jimmy. He is survived by sons Tyler Lawrence of Amherst, N.H., John Lawrence of Readfield, Paul Lawrence of London, UK; and three grandchildren, McKenna, Aidan and Taryn Lawrence.

A remembrance service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Torsey Memorial Church in Kents Hill.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jim's name to either the Semper Fi Fund at www.semperfifund.org; or to the Christian Science Benevolent Association at Chestnut Hill in Brookline, Mass.

Published in Kennebec Journal on Apr. 18, 2012
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