The Livingston County community is mourning the loss of a well-respected and loved resident and business owner.

Larry Lawrence, a Vietnam veteran and the longtime co-owner of Lawrence Auto Body in Brighton, has passed away following his battle with cancer. Lawrence, with his wife Kate, ran the downtown body shop since 1977. Carol Griffith, a County Commissioner who serves with Kate on the County board, is a close friend of the family and expressed what she called a great loss. Griffith said Lawrence was a “pillar of the community” who loved the community much. Griffith said he had such a great enrichment and background for everything Livingston County that they leaned upon him for, and that this is a huge loss for us all.

The father of 3 and grandfather of 6 was known as a very active member in the community, spending much of his time serving with the Brighton Area Historical Society. He also had a thriving interest in Native American history and owned many artifacts and books at his Brighton home.

Dennis Whitney, the former administrator of the Brighton Downtown Development Authority and a good friend of the Lawrence family, said he and Larry Lawrence used to kid each other about which branch of the armed services was better, Whitney insisting the Navy was superior. Lawrence was an Army veteran and was in the Vietnam War, while Whitney, now retired, was in the US Navy in Vietnam. Whitney said that Lawrence also loved old books and one time Whitney’s mother — a teacher — gave Lawrence some old books, including first editions. Whitney said that Lawrence, an avid reader, read every one of those books from cover to cover.

Former Livingston County Sheriff and current County Commissioner Bob Bezotte said he was fortunate enough to have grown a bond and friendship with Lawrence. Bezotte called Lawrence “one of our true heroes, both military and leader in our community, so it was a sad thing to hear. He’s a unique, one-of-a-kind person.” Bezotte recalled fondly riding in with Lawrence together as part of the escort when The Wall That Heals came to Livingston County last July.

Visitation has been set for this Friday, at the First United Methodist Church in Brighton from 3pm until 8pm. Funeral services will take place there on Saturday, at 10:30, with internment at Brighton Hills Cemetery following.

Lawrence was 72. (MK)