Lt. General Richard Day Lawrence Ret. (7/31/1930 - 12/9/2016)

Obituary
  • "Dear Pat and family, We just found out of Dick's passing...."
    - Marti Pogue
  • "A role model for a young chaplain.....when I was at Camp..."
    - Ch (BG) Wayne Hoffmann
  • "Working for General Lawrence as his adjutant in Saudi..."
    - Melvin Reade Mc Kenzie Jr, LTC USA
  • "General Lawrence was a man of action and a powerful..."
    - Melvin Reade Mc Kenzie Jr, LTC USA
  • "Dear Pat and Family, I had the distinct privilege of..."
    - Richard and Gayle McLean

On December 9 Dick passed on to be with the Lord.

Dick was born in Eastland, Texas, on July 31, 1930. His family moved to Houston where he graduated from San Jacinto High School. He went to West Point and graduated in 1953 with a Mechanical Engineering degree, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and married his wife, Pat Wiese.

They moved frequently with each Army assignment. He graduated top in his class at the Armor Advanced School, Fort Knox. He got his Masters in Engineering at USC and his Doctorate in Operations Research at Ohio State in 1968. He went to Vietnam and commanded the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment from 1968 to 1969 where he was awarded two Silver Stars.

Following this assignment, he became a Brookings Institute Fellow publishing his book U.S. Force Structure in NATO. At the end of that assignment he was selected as part of the design team for developing the Abrams M-1 tank, briefing the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Creighton Abrams, on its final design. He then commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Following that assignment, he was selected as the Project Manager for modernizing the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and promoted to Brigadier General. During that assignment, he learned Arabic, became good friends with the future Saudi King Abdullah, and was recognized as an expert in Middle East affairs. He returned to Washington, D.C., and was promoted to Major General leading the Army Tank Management Office, Pentagon. During that time, he was selected by President Carter and Cyrus Vance to be the Senior U.S. Military Advisor to the Camp David Accords. He worked closely with senior military officials from Israel and Egypt negotiating the locations of the Israeli withdrawal phases from the Sinai. Many of those officials, such as Ezer Weizman, would become prominent leaders in the Middle East.

Following that agreement, he was tasked by President Carter to create a U.S. military response option for the Middle East if military conflict would be necessary in the future. He recommended a forward deployment of equipment within the Middle East and an initial rapid response force that was dedicated to Middle East operations. He recommended that response force expand to a Unified Command level over several years. That Unified Command would later become Central Command and the forward deployed equipment would be used in the rapid response for Desert Storm. He was selected as the 1st Cavalry Division Commander at Fort Hood in 1980 and was responsible for bringing the M-1 Tank into the U.S. Army. From there he was selected as the Commandant of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was then selected as the President of the National Defense University and promoted to Lt. General. During his career, he was an advisor to three Presidents - Ford, Carter, and Reagan. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He retired in 1986 and eventually moved to Austin where he was a UT professor working on the Advanced Electromagnetic Railgun. He became an accomplished portrait sculptor beginning at age 65.

General Lawrence was preceded in death by his daughter, Anne Hunter Roby. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Pat; his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Scott and Starla Lawrence; and his son-in-law, Joe Roby. He is survived by five granddaughters and their husbands, Alicia and Aaron, Heather and Robert, Hannah and Jay, Casey, Madi; and six great-grandchildren.

During his life, my dad had a tremendous influence on world leaders and mentored great soldiers, but his most profound impact was on his family and extended family. He was a great dad. He loved his wife, his children and their spouses, his grandchildren and their spouses, and his great-grandchildren.

I believe the famous British Journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge, toward the end of his life, after experiencing success, fame, and significant leisure, captured my dad's feelings well, "Yet I say to you and beg you to believe me. Multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing - less than nothing - a positive impediment measured against one draft of that Living Water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are."

A memorial service will be held for General Lawrence in the future.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Dec. 18, 2016