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In Memory of John Lawrence

By A Noise Within
January 31, 2018

Beloved former Board member and dear friend, John Keeler Lawrence, 77, died December 20, 2017 in Glendale, California. John was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 11, 1940, but he grew up in Hammondsport, the son of George and Mary Keeler Lawrence. His father was President of the Taylor Wine Company. His mother was a granddaughter of Walter Taylor, founder of the Taylor Wine Company; his grandfather was a great-grandson of a village founder Lazarus Hammond. John was proud to say that he spent part of every summer of his life in Hammondsport.

John received his Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard, and went on to earn two advanced degrees, Master’s and PhD, at Northeastern University. He then held post-doctoral positions in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Georgia, Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University Of Vienna (Austria), Department of Physics at Northeastern University, and Department of Physics at the University of Windsor (Canada).

In 1973, Dr. Lawrence joined the Physics and Astronomy faculty at California State University, Northridge (He was Department Chair 1976-1980). His career there was very rewarding and productive. Research interests included General Relativity, Cosmology, Solar Physics, Climate, and Nonlinear Dynamics. He became Emeritus Professor in 1991. John remained active in this role, especially in solar physics research, beyond retirement.

Scuba diving was John’s favorite sport — he made a total of over 850 dives in a variety of different waters. The collection of his photos taken under water is extensive and fascinating. Many of these diving trips were with good friends from Northern California.

Another center of interest of John’s was the theatre. He was on the board at A Noise Within from 2007 to 2016. John and his wife Barbara were instrumental in contributing towards ANW’s new home in Pasadena. He said his motivation for participating at ANW was as much the friends he made as an appreciation for theatre arts.

Terry Kay, Chairman Emeritus, says, “John Lawrence was a dear friend and fantastic partner in supporting and inspiring the building of the new theatre. His insights, diligence and overall support over the many years of the project were immeasurabley helpful to me, and kept me moving forward during some very difficult times. There is no question in my mind that the theatre would not have been built without his involvement, and I am forever indebted to John (and Barbara). I miss him dearly and he is forever in my heart.”

John is survived by his wife Barbara of Glendale, California, and his son Francis with his wife Helen of Los Angeles. His grandsons are Joseph and Andrew of Los Angeles. John was preceded in death by his brother James in 1996.

A gathering to honor John Keeler Lawrence was held on January 14, 2018 at A Noise Within.

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