Robert A. Lawrence, Westport

Posted 9/10/19

Bob Lawrence died Sept. 4, 2019. He was born in Boston on Aug. 11, 1926, and graduated from The Park School in 1939 and Noble and Greenough School in 1944. During World War II, he enlisted in the …

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Robert A. Lawrence, Westport


Bob Lawrence died Sept. 4, 2019. He was born in Boston on Aug. 11, 1926, and graduated from The Park School in 1939 and Noble and Greenough School in 1944. During World War II, he enlisted in the Navy and attended Williams College under its V-12 program. When the program was discontinued in 1945, Bob chose to attend Yale University so as to graduate with a USMCR commission in 1947.

The following year he and his beloved Patricia Perrin were married. Bob was recalled by the Marines to serve in the Korean War and was honored to receive the Bronze Star. Upon returning to the U.S., he worked over the years for several investment firms, including Estabrook & Co., Loomis Sayles, Saltonstall & Co., and State Street Research and Management, where he became one of six managing partners. His other business activities included serving on the boards of State Street Bank, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and McCaw Cellular Communications.

Supporting the work of non-profits represented a significant passion in Bob's life. One of his lifelong commitments involved his alma mater, Nobles, where he served on the Board for nearly two decades. His strategic thinking and leadership skills were exemplary: he led the Board's decision-making process regarding co-education and the search committee for a new Head of School, ultimately becoming Head of the Board of Trustees. Under his leadership, guidance, and partnership with Ted Gleason, Head of School, he helped Nobles navigate its challenging transition to co-education.

Bob's commitment to education also included Yale, where he served as Chairman of the Library Committee and was a member of the Yale University Council. He was regional chair of two Yale campaigns in New England, each of which exceeded its campaign goal. Bob also served on the Yale Development Board, Yale Honorary Degree Committee, and was privileged to receive the Yale Medal in 1996. Bob also served on the boards of a variety of other non-profits in the Boston area, including Wellesley College, where he served for 18 years (nine as vice-chair); the New England Aquarium as one of its earliest trustees; Judge Baker Guidance Center, Mount Auburn Cemetery; and the Congregational Church in Little Compton, RI.

One of Bob's loves was the ocean, and all the ways in which it could be enjoyed. He loved to fish for striped bass and bluefish around Cape Cod and the Islands. Somewhat late in life he "switched" to sailing, and cruised to Maine and the Canadian Maritimes "in search of icebergs." He captained three Marion-Bermuda Races on board his beloved "Sea Witch," a Hinckley Southwest 42. The highlight of his extensive sailing endeavors was a 22-day transatlantic crossing in 1989, with Patsy and a crew of four; the following summer Bob and Patsy cruised Scotland, Norway and Sweden. He was a member of the Cruising Club of America, and served as Rear Commodore leading the Boston Station for two years, after which he led the Station's nominating committee for an additional two years.

Throughout his life, Bob was known for his integrity, insight, compassion, graciousness and generosity. He was the consummate gentlemen, generous in spirit and time, committed to the betterment of his community. His marriage to Patsy was a true partnership; together they lived life to its fullest— balancing work, family, philanthropy and pleasure. Despite their numerous accomplishments, they viewed their family as their most notable.

In addition to Patsy, Bob leaves his three children: Rob (married to Weezie Franklin), Jeff (married to Craig Franklin) and Frances (married to Will Keene). Bob was predeceased by Fran's twin, George, (married to Dede Hart). He also leaves six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom he delighted in and loved dearly. Bob lived most of his adult life in Westwood, Dedham and Westport, Mass. For the past nine years he and Patsy lived at Fox Hill Village in Westwood, where he died of Alzheimer's surrounded by his loving family.

A Memorial Service will be held to Celebrate Bob's Life at St. Paul's Church in Dedham, at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to two scholarships Bob created during his life: Edward S. Gleason Scholarship Fund, Noble and Greenough School, c/o Development Office, 10 Campus Dr., Dedham, MA 02026, or, Lawrence – Ellis Scholarship Fund, c/o Joel Getz, Yale School of Management, 2 Whitney Avenue, 3rd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510.

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