Cover photo for Gary W. Lawrence's Obituary
Gary W. Lawrence Profile Photo
1943 Gary 2023

Gary W. Lawrence

January 24, 1943 — November 12, 2023

Pelican Rapids, MN

Gary William Lawrence entered heaven’s doors Sunday morning at 1:43 am after a courageous battle with cancer.

Gary was born in Minneapolis, MN on January 24,1943, to Lillian (Lemke) and George Lawrence.  The family moved from ND to Crookston, MN where Gary would graduate in 1960 from Crookston High School.  He attended the University of North Dakota where he met and married his wife of 59 years, Dawn Ogden. Gary graduated from UND School of Law in 1967.  Upon graduation, he received an appointment from the ND Attorney General’s Office to the Workman’s Compensation Bureau in Bismarck, ND.  Eventually, Gary's love for Grand Forks and UND called him back to Grand Forks to join the law firm of O’Grady, Edwards, Anderson and Lawrence.   In 1976, a longtime attorney friend, Bill Johnson asked Gary to move his family to Northwood, ND, and practice law with him. Gary loved the small-town practice and the people, which was evident in the way clients treated Gary and Bill.  It was not unusual to find a plate of fresh doughnuts, homemade venison summer sausage, or other goodies as expressions of clients' gratitude. Gary retired in 2003 and enjoyed winters in Arizona and summers at Pelican Lake, MN.  

Gary always had a strong sense of “giving back”.  He served his church community as a youth leader and congregational president. Professionally, he volunteered on the ND Lawyer's Board of Ethics and ND Board of Governors. The growth of Northwood was also important to him, so he actively served on the Commercial Club and had the honor of being the Worshipful Master of the Arcadia Masonic Lodge.  Post retirement, Gary contributed to the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association, where he was instrumental in getting Otter Tail County to build a walking path on County Road 9.  Most recently, he spent 10 years leading the Foundation Board of Risen Savior Church in Sun Lakes, AZ. 

Gary would tell you that one of the highlights of his life was visiting Israel in 2022.  He fell in love with the people, culture, and (much to his companion’s surprise) the food.  He truly felt he’d walked in Jesus’ footsteps and told anyone he could that Israel was a “must visit” country.

He is survived by his wife, Dawn; son, Richard (Tiffany) and their sons Patrick, Andrew and Thomas; daughter, Meg (Brian) and their children Kirk and Lillie; daughter, Annie (Randy) and their children Ryan and Maggie. Gary’s children and their families were the love of his life, and he cherished their annual 4th of July gathering at the cabin.   Gary is also survived by two special brother and sister-in-laws, Kurt and Marilynn Ogden and their children, son, Kris (Melody) Ogden and children; daughter, Marian (Christian) Sorum and children, and Keith and Leslie Ogden and their daughter, Katie.

Memorials may be sent to The Risen Savior Foundation, 23914 S Alma Road, Chandler, AZ 85243, or Hospice of the Red River Valley, 111 Hwy 10 Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

A Celebration of Gary’s Life will be 2:00 PM, Friday, December 29, 2023, in Risen Savior Lutheran Church, 23914 S Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ. 

(Korsmo Funeral and Cremation Service, Moorhead, MN)

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary W. Lawrence, please visit our flower store.


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