Family, friends remember photographer

Carson Valley United Methodist Church was filled to near capacity as family and friends celebrated the life of James Albert Lawrence, 95, and his 57 years of contributions to the Carson Valley he loved so much.

The windows behind Rev. Pete Nelson, as he spoke about Lawrence's life, framed a view of snow-covered Jobs Peak, a scene so often appearing in Lawrence photographs and paintings.

Lawrence's works - photographs as well as paintings - were prominently displayed as well as one of his first cameras, his paint box and several pictures of him during his life.

But it wasn't Lawrence the artist or the photographer who was remembered the most as, one by one, people rose to tell personal stories about the man.

He was a charter member of the Minden Rotary Club.

He was described as someone who was always there to do anything to help the community. He treated photos for passports with as much reverence as he did his professional works. He was an outdoorsman and fishing and hunting were two of his favorite pastimes.

Friends of the five Lawrence children spoke of Lawrence's fun trips to the dump and how as young children they would often accompany him.

"He was always finding little treasures," one friend said. "It always seemed like we took more things home than we took to the dump in the first place. It was a wonder that they didn't pay him instead of the other way around."

Margaret Biggs, spoke of Lawrence and his wife, Gerry's, commitment to Carson Valley Art Association and East Fork Gallery, remembering how he was always there to help fellow artists.

His constructive critiques were full of encouragement and he always found the good in other artists' work.

Lawrence would bristle when anyone would say to him, "How I wish I had your God-given talent."

His standard reply - "I went through a lot of schooling and I worked hard," - enforced his belief in a dedicated work ethic.


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