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Ernest Lawrence

Sep 03 1918 - Aug 31 2004

Ernest Lloyd Lawrence, better known as Granddaddy, passed away Aug. 31, 2004. The employees at Victoria Gardens in Allen, the retirement facility in which he spent the past few months, were deeply saddened because "Mr. Lawrence" had won them over with his sharp wit and boundless charm. Ernest was born Sept. 3, 1918, in Anna, Texas, the son of William Earl and Nora May Lawrence. He graduated in 1937 from McKinney High School, where he played the clarinet under the watchful eye of band director Pop Frazier. "I just held it and walked along with them," he once said of his time in the band. Shortly after graduating from high school, he bought a jewelry store on the square in McKinney. He worked at several different locations on the square until he started Lawrence Jewelry, which was located on the northwest corner of the square for 33 years. On July 26, 1941, Ernest married Frances Hendricks in her parents' house in McKinney. Her father, Dow Hendricks, officiated. "He was shaking so much that I didn't know if he was going to marry me," Frances said of Ernest. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jun. 1, 1942, and served at Hensley Naval Base in Grand Prairie, Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., and on the Pacific Island of Guam. In addition to spending time with he and Frances' two children, Larry and Marilyn, Ernest loved to fish. He and John Lowry, who ended up just down the hall from him at Victoria Gardens in recent days, fished lakes throughout North Texas. Later in life, Ernest hung up his fishing pole and took up golf. He recorded his first and only hole-in-one soon after and was hooked. He spent several years as a member at Anna's Hurricane Creek, but for the past 20 years or so, he played all his golf - and his dominoes - at McKinney Country Club. Already in his 70s at the time, Ernest complained about having to play with "all these old men." Some of his best days on the course were spent with "young" men such as James Stewart, Allen Kasten, B.L. Henry and Bubba Freeman. He joined the First Baptist Church of McKinney when he was 12 and remained an active member for the next 74 years. In recent years, he was a member of the Bob Beall Sunday School class. Though he wasn't one to quote scripture on a regular basis, he had a deep faith that came through in the way he treated everyone he came in contact with. He was also a member of the Saint Johns Masonic Lodge 51 for more than 50 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Lonnie and his sister-in-law Pearl. He is survived by a large group of admirers that include his best friend and wife, Frances, his children, Larry Lawrence of Lewisville and his wife Voncille and Marilyn Mosley of Kaufman, Texas, and Ernest's favorite golfing buddy John; his five grandchildren: Matt and Mandy Mosley Logsdon, Chris and Laura Lawrence Gunn and Jeff Byrd. Among Ernest's biggest fans were his two brother-in-laws and two Sister-in-laws: Don Hendricks and his wife Charlotte, Wesley Hendricks and his late wife Ruth, Gwen Williams and her husband Ward and Mary Dow Wright and her husband Harry. If ever there was a man comfortable in his own skin, it was Ernest Lawrence. He proved that the loudest man doesn't always make the biggest impact. Granddaddy, thanks for being such a great example - and we'll catch you at the turn. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM, Thursday, September 2, 2004 at the First Baptist Church in McKinney. Interment will follow at Highland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Wednesday at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home.
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