NORWALK, Conn. – Gerald "Jerry" J. Lawrence, a retired U.S. Air Force major and Norwalk native, died July 28 at his home in Atkinson, N.H. surrounded by family. He was 69.
Born and raised in Norwalk, Lawrence graduated Fairfield Preparatory School in 1961. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and entered the Aviation Cadets program in 1964. He then attended Electronic Warfare School and was assigned to five years as an electronic warfare officer on B52s.
After receiving pilot's training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla., he was selected to fly C141 transports and KC135 tankers. Serving two tours in Vietnam, Lawrence was shot down in his second tour over the Ho Chi Minh trail in August of 1972 but managed to evade capture until rescue.
Lawrence was later given command of RAF field in Fairford, England, a post he held for five years. He received numerous medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Following his discharge in 1986, he worked as an operations manager at Clark and Reid Moving Co. in Burlington, Mass. and later the Coach Company in Plaistow, N.H. An avid NASCAR fan, Lawrence enjoyed hunting, beekeeping, gardening and attending annual Aviation Cadet reunions.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Joan Trez Lawrence; a son, Michael S. Lawrence, of Cambridge, Mass.; two daughters, Danielle K. Battistelli, of Atkinson and Kristen A. Lawrence, of Keene, N.H.; and two grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held in New Hampshire. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cancer Research Program, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Office of Development, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142.