Breckenridge Texan

Dr. J.T. Lawrence

Dr. J.T. Lawrence

Jim Tom Lawrence, MD, age 98 of Breckenridge, passed away surrounded by family on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, in Fort Worth. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 2, at First Christian Church with Charles Kuhn officiating. The family will welcome friends for a reception following the service at the fellowship hall of the church. The services will be under the direction of Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home. The burial will be a private family burial.

Dr. Lawrence was born April 4, 1921, in Cross Plains to parents, James Thomas and Carrie Lynk Henderson Lawrence. Dr. Lawrence grew up during the Great Depression where his family was a typical Depression family and often, during that time, lived on his grandmother’s farm to make ends meet. He recalled his parent’s bank account resided in coffee cans.

Dr. Lawrence graduated from Baird High School,where he participated in track, tennis, basketball and football. He spent one semester at Texas Tech. After one semester, he went home and told his mother, “That was all the education he needed.” So his mother put him to work picking cotton and sacking wheat. He received $0.05 a row for picking cotton and $0.20 a bag for wheat. After one day, he was so dry and itchy he jumped in a pond and decided then to re-enroll back into college. He enrolled at North Texas that spring where he finished his undergraduate degree.

He then went onto medical school at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he graduated top of his class. In 1949, Jim married Betty Louise Guy. He later moved his family to Fontenet, France, in 1954, where he served 3 years as captain in the U.S. Army. There, he oversaw a clinic that treated U.S. troops and their families.

The Lawrence family moved to Breckenridge in 1957, where Dr. Lawrence practiced medicine for 62 years. The great loves of his life were treating patients, his family, golf, and dove hunting. He called the golf course at the Breckenridge Country Club “his little piece of heaven.” Dr. Lawrence’s golf goal was to shoot his age and he finally reached that goal when he turned 80.

He enjoyed the intimacy of a small group over a large gathering. He offered all three of his daughters the money for their weddings up front to incentivize them to throw a small wedding and keep the difference. They all three declined the offer.

He loved watching football, baseball and tennis and could recall detailed sports facts both historical and current. His family always dreaded playing against him in Trivial Pursuit when it came to sports trivia. In recent years, he enjoyed time with family at Possum Kingdom Lake, admiring the views of Hell’s Gate. Jim and his lifelong friend, Polly Pitzer, often spent time enjoying a good meal, a martini and sometimes a spicy debate.

Dr. Lawrence served on the Breckenridge School Board for 10 years, as the Breckenridge High School football team physician for five years and many years on the board of the First Christian Church.

He is survived by three daughters, Julie Ann Smith of New Orleans, Mary Lynn Guerin and husband Sam of Fort Worth, Linda Lou Cappel and husband Joe of Fort Worth; grandchildren, Laura Howard and husband Will, Vincent Guerin and wife Stacy and Will Guerin and wife Mara; great-grandchildren, Kate and Lily Howard, Vera Lynn Guerin, Elizabeth and Nick Guerin. Dr. Lawrence was also survived by his longtime friend and companion Polly Pitzer of Breckenridge.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife and sister.

Dr. Lawrence will be remembered as a devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather to his family. He served the Breckenridge community as a dedicated physician, both in terms of passion and longevity, finally retiring at the age of 98. He was universally loved and respected by all who knew him, and the twinkle in his eye spoke louder than his words. He was blessed with a long life and chose to serve and love to the very end.

Memorials may be made to the First Christian Church of Breckenridge and may be left at the funeral home office. Condolences may be made online at www.meltonkitchens.com

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