Obituary: George Lawrence, 1934-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: George Lawrence, 1934-2023 

Artist, musician and storyteller lived a life of love and creativity

Published October 3, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated October 3, 2023 at 10:48 a.m.

click to enlarge George Lawrence - COURTESY
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  • George Lawrence

On September 20, 2023, the Earth lost its oldest child. George Lawrence of Tunbridge, Vt., held lovingly in his wife's heart, passed into the light. The world is a better place for all the love he sparked and grew in our hearts.

George was born in 1934, in Florida, spending his youngest years with his parents, Harold and Helen Lawrence, in Keystone Heights. George told many stories of going out in a boat at night with his father to hunt alligators. He grew up with a love for the outdoors.

His family moved to Port Clinton, Ohio, to support the World War II effort.  He took music lessons, got his first lap steel guitar and started art lessons to foster a passion for drawing.

Upon graduation, George attended art school in Florida until it folded unexpectedly and he decided to enter the Army. He went to Germany, which was still shaken by WWII, and was amazed by the love of the German people for the American soldiers. He was with a reconnaissance group that scoured families’ farms, houses and barns for booby traps left by the Nazis as they pulled back through the countryside. In that work he saw limbs and lives lost.

With the help of the Veterans Administration, he returned to art school at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, later moving to Tampa to work as an art director at an ad agency.

He married Nancy Lawrence, now deceased, and adopted her son, Rodney, also now deceased. Together, in 1964, they brought their wild and wonderful daughter, Romy Lynn Lawrence, into the world. She has remained one of the great loves of his life.

Two divorces later, George and Jacquelyn JiMoi met and fell into a new kind of love, the love they had believed was possible but needed each other to create. That relationship has thrived for 47 years.

In 1980, when Jacquelyn followed her passion to live in Vermont, George followed. This move set them on their lifelong course of living in love and creativity that they believed in with all of their hearts.

George turned to his art full time and became an established, well-respected artist. His love of music continued to deepen, especially when joining the band Jeanne and the Hi-Tops. He loved playing the lap steel and dobro. He wrote numerous songs, many about his muse, Jacquelyn, but also about his pool-shooting abilities. He was described as a "kind but deadly pool shark." George was a guest musician with Vermont songwriter Spencer Lewis and played with local band the Shugar Makers.

There were many art shows in galleries, local libraries and museums. The Tunbridge Library was particularly supportive of both George’s and Jacquelyn’s work. George was especially proud of an 80th birthday art retrospective hosted in his honor at Vermont Law School. The Morrill Homestead Museum was another favorite annual show.

While Vermont was home, Jacquelyn and George made annual visits to their favorite island, Ocracoke, N.C. They developed many loving relationships there, playing music in their living room, sharing their art in the island galleries, riding bikes around the village and introducing many Vermont friends to island life.

George was a storyteller who enjoyed making people laugh.  He loved entertaining people of all ages, especially younger folks. He was able to nurture that love for eight years teaching art at the Mountain School in Vershire. He saw the light in his students and reflected it back to them. 

George will be missed, but he will also live on through his art, music, stories and jokes ("I don't worry about the aging process … it will pass"). And most of all, George will live on in the reservoirs of his friends’ and loved ones’ hearts that he helped fill to overflowing. George's spirit will nurture us all as we pursue the true love of life in this beautiful world.

Jacquelyn would like to thank the caring physicians at the White River Junction VA and the doctors and nurses at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Jack Byrne Hospice Center, whose kindness helped ease the way. Thank you to the many friends who have supported this transition with love and compassion.

If you are moved to make donations in George’s honor, please consider the Tunbridge Library, the Vermont Foodbank, or any self-employed musician or artisan striving to make the world a more beautiful, authentic, creative and loving place for us all.

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