Keith Ward Lawrence, 92, died peacefully April 24, 2023, at home in Hastings, MI after bravely and steadfastly battling cancer. Keith was born in Holland, MI and grew up in Kalamazoo. He attended Western Michigan University, married the love of his life, Marlene (Clark), in 1953 and shortly after earned his degree in naval architecture from the University of Michigan. He began his career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Detroit District, and even as he and Marlene began their family he also enlisted in the Michigan National Guard, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. In 1962 he transferred to the Philadelphia District and moved his family that included four boys to Cinnaminson, NJ.
Keith's career with the Corps meant a great deal to him and he achieved great success. He retired in 1990 as the Chief of the Marine Design Center in Philadelphia. After retirement, he and Marlene moved back to Michigan, having their dream house built in Hastings on a beautiful piece of property that they treasured. There he pursued, also with great success, his many interests, including oil painting, woodworking, gardening, and landscaping. Keith was also generous with his time and money, serving as an adult leader for the Boy Scouts in Cinnaminson, driving for the Red Cross in Hastings, and making numerous charitable contributions every year.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Ward and Mildred (Florian) Lawrence, and his wife of 64 years, Marlene, who he missed terribly after her death in 2017. He is survived by his brother, Warren Lawrence, of Vicksburg, MI; his boys Kevin (Karen) of Lewes, DE, Wade (Kim) of Kalamazoo, MI, Stephen (Brenda) of Portage, MI, and Thomas (Gina) of Lake Orion, MI; 7 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and 9 nieces and nephews.
Keith was always the consummate engineer-creative, analytical, and precise-and he appreciated nature in all its forms. His enduring legacy is the presence of these same traits, in some form and fashion, in all his children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all his family, friends, and former co-workers.
A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. Those wishing to honor Keith's memory can make a donation to American Red Cross (Barry County Fund)( https://www.barrycf.org/funds/american-red-cross-barry-county-fund/), the Barry County Commission on Aging (https://www.barrycounty.org/commission_on_aging_new/donations.php), or to the National Audubon Society (https://www.audubon.org) in his name.
To leave online condolences visit www.girrbachfuneralhome.net. Services provided by Girrbach Funeral Home, Hastings, Michigan.