Funeral service for retired Army Staff Sergeant William “Bill” Alfred Lawrence, Jr. will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at the New Church of the Living God with Pastor James E. Johnson officiating. Mr. Lawrence will lie in state 5-7 p.m. Monday, January 4, 2021, at the Johnson Funeral Home 203 N. Washington Street. Services may be viewed via livestream on Facebook and YouTube by visiting the New Church of the Living God’s website www.ncotlg.org
Retired Army Staff Sergeant, William “Bill” Alfred Lawrence, Jr. was an only-child, born in East St. Louis, IL on November 9, 1946, to William Alfred Lawrence, Sr. and Verdie Lawrence.
Bill graduated from East Side High School, and at age 19, was drafted into the United States Army. He fought bravely in the Vietnam War, and was blessed to return home safely after he completed his tour of duty. Shortly after doing so, Bill married his childhood friend and sweetheart, Virginia Mae Wellmaker, and reenlisted in the Army.
With his wife by his side, and their children in tow, Bill proudly served his country at Fort Hood, TX, in Nuremberg, Germany, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, Forts Davis and Clayton in Panama, Fort Campbell, KY, and Fort Riley, KS. His experience at his last duty station was similar to the beginning of his military career in that he was once again called upon to fight for his country, this time in Desert Storm. In 1992, after two wars and twenty-four years of service, Bill retired from the military and transitioned into civilian life in Junction City, KS.
After leaving the Army, he held positions at Kansas State University, Manhattan High School in USD 383, and on Fort Riley, among others. Bill also took night classes at Upper Iowa University to fulfill his dream of completing his college education. In 2002, he achieved his goal by earning his Bachelor’s Degree.
Bill also joined the New Church of the Living God, where he found a welcoming, loving, and supportive pastor and church family. He gave his life to the Lord, and at the time of his passing, he was a deacon in the church.
Bill found great joy in life’s little things. He loved washing his cars, spending time with his friends, working in his yard, and going on cruises, a love that he developed late in life. Yet, nothing made Bill happier than sitting in his basement surrounded by his wife, his children and his grandchildren, watching and listening to them talk and laugh about anything that came to their minds. It truly warmed his heart, filled him with pride, and served as a wonderful affirmation of the blessings bestowed upon him.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Mae Lawrence, whom he affectionately called, “Sweetie,” his parents, and his stepmother, Leanna Lawrence. He leaves to cherish his memory his three sons and their significant others/spouses, Cornell & Tracy, Courtney & Anna, and Novotny & Sarah. Bill’s legacy will also live on in his grandchildren, Rachael (Gregg Henderson), Cheyenne (Emmanuel Cockrell), Jordan, Andrew, Alexis, & Alyson, in his great grandsons, Chase & James (Mother, Tonya Taylor), and in his honorary grandchildren, Karsen, Emerson, & Gracyn Ross. Bill also leaves behind his stepsiblings, Vanessa, Veronica, & Vernon, and his cousins, Pat, Amelia, & Renee. Finally, his memory will live on in his long list of friends whom he loved dearly.
In lieu of flowers, we respectfully ask for contributions to the JCHS Minority Alumni Scholarship, C/O Novotny Lawrence, P.O. Box 804, Ames, IA 50014.
**To leave a special online message for the family, visit www.johnsonjc.com**