Benjamin (Ben) F. Lawrence, 85, of Lolo, MT passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at Community Medical Center.
Ben was born on February 19, 1936, on the family homestead near Spooner, Wisconsin to Benjamin F. and Zanetta (Poquette) Lawrence. He was the fourth child of five children. He grew up on the family dairy farm. His family moved to Worland, Wyoming when he was a teenager where he worked various jobs including at the sugar factory, a dude ranch and on the oil fields. He moved to Montana with his brother Darryl in 1963. In 1967 he moved to the Seattle area where he worked for Boeing on the 707 and 727 airplanes as a mechanic and later as an AOG mechanic. He returned to Montana, worked for Caterpillar as a heavy equipment mechanic until he was injured. He later went back to school to get his boiler’s license and hazmat certification. He worked at Community Medical Center as a Maintenance Engineer until his retirement.
After moving back from Seattle, he purchased property in Florence where he farmed and raised his two daughters Shawnna Medlar and Teresa Friden with Donna Lawrence-Dietz. He enjoyed working on their small farm in Florence along with camping and fishing with his family. He married Judy Lawrence in 1995 and his family expanded to include John Cantrell and Julie Heald.
After his retirement in 1999 he continued to farm. He and Judy owned a Walnut Orchard in Northern California. Ben helped build the Bear Ridge Missionary Baptist Church camp in the Sierra Mountains. They later moved to Sandpoint ID area to be closer to family where they lived on a small farm where he enjoyed his animals and rebuilding an antique Allis-Chalmers tractor. After moving back to Montana in 2018 he enjoyed gardening, his animals, taking walks down by Lolo Creek, and spending time with family at their place in Lolo. He was an active member of Missoula Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Betty, Arlene, Carol, brother Darryl and son-in-law Doug Medlar.
He is survived by his wife Judy of Lolo and 4 children; Shawnna Medlar and grandson Austin of Corvallis; Teresa Friden of Kent WA, husband Mark and grandsons Wyatt and Alec; Julie Heald of Florence, husband Jason, grandson Michael and granddaughter Sarah; John Cantrell of Sandpoint ID, wife Dorothy and granddaughter Jacque, and 4 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held on Wednesday, Sept 29th at 12:00 pm at Florence-Carlton Church (in the little white church) with graveside service to follow at Florence-Carlton Cemetery. Reception after at the Florence-Carlton Church Fellowship Hall. Service will be officiated by Pastor Mike Maney.