Former Dunedin City Manager John Lawrence dies
DUNEDIN -- Take a walk through Dunedin and it's nearly impossible to escape former City Manager John Lawrence's legacy.
It's in the renovated baseball stadium. It's in the Pinellas sheriff's vehicles patrolling city streets. It's especially in the landscaped sidewalks and shops that line the city's bustling downtown, which was little more than narrow, deserted roads and orange groves prior to his tenure.
Lawrence, the longest-serving city manager in Dunedin's 113-year history, died Sunday following a three-year battle with liver disease, his family said. He was 66.
"Almost everywhere you look in the city today," said former Dunedin Mayor Tom Anderson, "his leadership was involved in making that happen."
Lawrence came to Dunedin in 1980 as a city planner and worked his way up to city manager - a position he then held 21 years.
He retired in 2005 and moved to Powder Springs, Ga., to be closer to family. There, relatives said, Lawrence worked for the city as a special projects coordinator and taught urban design at a local university.
Diagnosed three years ago with liver disease, Lawrence hoped to get a liver transplant. But Saturday night he went into cardiac arrest, said his son Matt Lawrence.
He died after he was taken off life support Sunday afternoon. He is survived by his wife, Jo Pamela, two sons, a brother, a sister and a granddaughter.
Instead of a funeral, relatives said they are planning a memorial service to be held in Dunedin in the spring.
To read more about Lawrence's life and accomplishments and what family and friends have to say about it, click here.
--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer
Photo: 2005 Times file