Donald C. Morgan


March 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Lawrence Mr. Walter A. Lawrence “Coach,” age 78, of Rockford went home to be with his Lord and  Savior on Saturday, March 12, 2011. Walter graduated from Leelanau in 1951, where he participated in everything that involved sports. Walt attended Albion College, where he received his B.A. degree. He also ran cross country and track. It was there that he met JoEllen and, after a loving courtship, they were married. Walt was a member of the Sigma Chi and sang in the barbershop quartet with the fraternity. His first teaching position was in a split class at Belmont School when male teachers wore suits and ties. In 1964, he became the cross country coach for Rockford. Many young people remember cross country camp at Ludington, especially the sand dunes. Walt also coached in the 1996 Paralympics and was the assistant coach for the National Goalball team. For 27-plus years, Walt taught just about everything for Rockford Public Schools. He will be remembered for his nonjudgmental nature, his very dry sense of humor, his ability to laugh, and his enjoyment of everyone’s company. If Walt ever met a stranger, that person immediately became his friend. In his retirement years, he worked at Jody’s Restaurant. His quiet, deep faith was very important to Walt, but his family was top priority. Walt was a long-time member of Rockford United Methodist Church, where he sang in the church choir and served on many boards. In your busy life, just pause for a moment and think about Walt. He is survived by his loving wife, JoEllen; children, James and Lara Lawrence of Knoxville, Tenn., and Sarah and Rich Mann of Cedar Springs; and grandchildren, Gabrielle, Courtney, Abigail, Rachel, Cole, Zac, Sirena, Heather, and Austin; brothers and sister, Howard Lawrence Jr., Mrs. Margaret Jack, and Paul (Martha) Lawrence; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Noah; and brothers, Luther and Gordon. The service for Walt will be Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at Rockford United Methodist Church with the Rev. Richard Riley officiating. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Rockford United Methodist Church. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 6 to […]