Ronald Mahlon Lawrence
Ronald Mahlon Lawrence passed away at his home in Sonoma, on May 10, 2011. He was 75 years old.
Ron was born on Aug. 23, 1935, in Santa Cruz, to parents Harry Lawrence and Geraldine Cowell. He grew up in Stockton, but also spent a few years during elementary and junior high school in Santa Cruz. During his teens in Stockton, Ron became interested in cars and racing. He became a charter member of a hot rod club, and part owner and crew member of a drag racing car. Although he did not remain an active participant in auto racing, he remained a fan of the sport his entire life. At age 19, he became parts manager for a tractor dealership in Stockton.
He met Elizabeth Lehn, in Santa Cruz in 1956. They married in 1957, and he relocated to Santa Cruz, where the couple had three children. Ron developed an interest in photography during this period, and built a darkroom at their home so he could develop his own pictures.
In 1966, Ron and his family moved to Guerneville. Ron worked in the parts departments for Comanche Chevrolet and Bishop-Hansel Ford in Santa Rosa.
In 1971, the family moved to Sonoma when Ron joined Century Auto Parts as a manager, and later, became parts manager at Sonoma Ford. Away from work, he took an active role in his family's life. As a youth, Ron was a member of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. As his sons entered Scouting, Ron became an adult leader and volunteer in their packs and troops.
Ron's interest in photography led him to pursue the dream of owning his own camera store. With his wife, Elizabeth, he opened REL Photo in Sonoma in 1981. In addition to selling photography equipment and supplies, he also offered photography classes at the store, as well as providing professional photography services. When the store closed in 1986, he returned to the auto parts business, working for Sonoma Auto Parts until his retirement. After retirement, he became interested in genealogy, and spent more than 10 years tracing his ancestry. In his later years, he became an active member of St. Francis Solano Catholic Church.
Ron is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; three sons, Clinton Lawrence, of Davis, Wayne Lawrence, of Oregon City, Ore. and Glenn Lawrence, of Sonoma; one granddaughter, McKenzie Lawrence, of Sonoma; brother, Gary Lawrence, of Tumwater, Wash.; sister, Muriel Filyau, of Santa Cruz; two nieces, Ronda Filyau, of Omaha, Neb., and Tracy Guzman, of Santa Cruz; and one great-nephew, Gabe Guzman, of Santa Cruz.
Friends are invited to attend a memorial Mass at St. Francis Solano Catholic Church, 469 Third St. W., Sonoma, CA, on Monday, May 16, at 10 a.m.
Private inurnment, St Francis Cemetery, Sonoma, CA.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, Sonoma, Unit, 2930 McBride Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.
Arrangements under the direction of Duggan's Mission Chapel, Mission Cremation Service, 525 W. Napa St., Sonoma, CA; www.duggansmissionchapel.com.