Tribute: Brad Lawrence

24 Apr Tribute: Brad Lawrence

On Friday, April 13, 2018, the Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) lost a beloved member of its Community Foundation family, and all of Starke County lost one of its most generous, dedicated, and outstanding residents.

Brad A. Lawrence of Knox was a lifelong farmer, a family man, and an exceptionally generous, community-minded individual. He worked his entire life on his family farming operation, Lawrence Farms. In addition to many other agricultural and community organizations, Brad was very dedicated to the Starke County Community Foundation.

In 2016, the SCCF honored Brad with the Longest Serving Volunteer Award at their 20th anniversary gala. Brad had served as a volunteer board member for the SCCF for twelve years, the most allowed by the Community Foundation’s bylaws. During this time, he served as President of the SCCF and also of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation. Upon the completion of those twelve years, he continued to serve as an advisor to the board, and after the required amount of time away, he returned to the board as Vice President.

“Brad didn’t miss a meeting,” said Suzy Bishop, a fellow SCCF board member. “Even after he got sick, he still tried to make the meetings.”

Brad lived intentionally and committed himself to supporting the community he called home. The Lawrence family as a whole supported the community through two funds with the SCCF, the Clarence Lawrence Scholarship Fund, established in memory of Brad’s father, and the Peggy Lawrence Community Fund, in honor of his mother. Upon his passing, Brad’s family is creating the Brad Lawrence Memorial Scholarship Fund. These funds will forever support local charitable projects and Starke County students in their pursuit of higher education.

“Dedication. That’s the word that I associate with Brad Lawrence,” said Jennifer Gappa, President of the SCCF. “He cared so much about this community, and he showed that through his support of the Community Foundation.”

Brad’s community service went far beyond the SCCF; he served with the Starke County Farm Bureau, the Starke County Co-op, the Kankakee Valley River Basin Commission, the Starke County Soil and Water Conservation District, and as a Starke County 4-H Leader, to name a few.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Brad through the Community Foundation and other organizations,” said SCCF Vice President Dave Altman, “and I have witnessed his dedication and commitment to the community. I’m honored to have known him as a friend.”

While Brad’s death is a huge loss for those who knew and loved him, his presence will have positive a effect on future generations, on individuals who are not even born yet. They will, without even realizing it, experience the effect of Brad’s support and generosity. Because of the life Brad lived, Starke County will forever be a better place to live and raise a family.

An ancient proverb states, “All of the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds we sow today.” Through his family’s community and scholarship funds, and through Brad’s consistent kindness and dedication to this community throughout his life, Brad has left a mark on Starke County that is endless and immeasurable. There’s just no telling how many flowers will grow from the seeds Brad planted during his lifetime of giving.