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John Thomas “Tom” Lawrence Jr., 74, of Drayden died peacefully on Christmas morning, Dec. 25, 2012, in his home surrounded by his family.
Born Nov. 23, 1938, in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late John Thomas Lawrence and Mary Louise Michael Lawrence.
A native Washingtonian and Phi Kappa fraternity member, he graduated from Catholic University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
His 45 years of government service began before graduation with summers spent at the Army Map Service. Following graduation, he accepted a position at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, where he worked with sounding rockets, and then a position at NASA. While exciting jobs, they were not his ideal. His passion was airplanes, and his dream job was ultimately fulfilled when he began work at Naval Air Systems Command. Recognized as a leader in his field, he was inducted as an Esteemed Fellow into the Naval Air Systems Command Research and Engineering Fellows Program and was also a recipient of the Aviation Week and Space Technology 2000 Laurels Award for outstanding achievement in the field of aeronautics/propulsion. After retirement from the federal government, he continued his aviation career as a consultant with Wyle.
In 1980, he ran the Marine Corps Marathon, finishing with a time of 4:41:52. When running was no longer his best choice, he opted to use a rowing machine. On the back porch of the family’s home and overlooking the St. Mary’s River, he rowed 10,000,000 plus meters more than 6,200 miles.
He was a regular blood donor with the American Red Cross, and over the years, he donated 97 units of blood more than 12 gallons. Upon moving to St. Mary’s County 15 years ago, he embraced his new community and was a member of the Historic St. Mary’s Foundation Board.
The love and admiration of his family surpassed his accomplishments. His love and dedication to his wife of 52 years, Joan Murdock Lawrence, was an inspiration. His two children, Christopher Steven Lawrence and Dana Maureen Ragghianti, were blessed with unconditional love, guidance and encouragement. His five grandchildren, Matthew Thomas Ragghianti, Charlotte Marie Lawrence, Meghan Ann Ragghianti, Casey Marie Ragghianti and Katherine Audrey Lawrence, experienced an extraordinary model of family, love, caring and commitment. His love was returned many times over.
In addition to his wife, children, and grandchildren, he is survived by three brothers and their wives, James and Frances Lawrence, Michael and Cynthia Lawrence and Paul and Lenore Lawrence; daughter-in-law, Jeanne Lawrence; and son-in-law, Adolph Ragghianti.
The family will receive friends Monday, Dec. 31, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Holy Face Catholic Church in Great Mills, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Rev. Joseph A. Calis, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at the church cemetery. A repast will be provided by the Ladies of Holy Face Church in the church hall.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650.
Arrangements are being handled by Brinsfield Funeral Home in Leonardtown.