Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Gary Lawrence - Gary Lawrence Tribute

Gary Lawrence

Gary Lawrence
Gary Lawrence

On behalf of the SWAFS membership, the Board of Directors would like to express our heartfelt condolences at the loss of Gary Lawrence. As a past president of SWAFS and an enthusiastic forensic scientist, Gary’s contributions to our organization and devotion to forensic science will be truly missed.

Brandy Reese, Michelle O'Neal, Brandon Conrad
Steve Valdez, James Jackson, Tamara Keller, Dan Hedges, Sarah Skiles, Kay McClain

Gary Lawrence
Family photos from Griffin Leggett-Forest Hill funeral home website.


Some thoughts on Gary from a few SWAFS members...

Nick Dawson, SWAFS President 1997-1998, 2006-2007 - Distinguished Member

Gary Lawrence
From funeral home website
I never saw him happier, or more committed, than at a SWAFS meeting. Forensic science was a very important part of his life and he was very proud to be able to serve the forensic community through his service to SWAFS. He volunteered his time and knowledge through teaching classes and served on the SWAFS Board of Directors in the late '90's, being at every meeting and contributing to every meeting's success. When I suggested he run for SWAFS President for 2002 his eyes lit up at the idea and when he was elected his pride in the position was unmistakeable. He ran board meetings with an efficiency I admired and it was an honor to serve on the board with him for 7 years. When he had to medically retire in 2008 it was a sad day for our lab but also for the wider forensic community. We miss him.

Kim Brown - Distinguished Member

Gary was a conscientious co-worker with an understated sense of humor. Sometimes you had to pay close attention understand that he was joking! He loved his family very much and was proud of them. He was interested in SWAFS and wanted the organization to do its best to serve the forensic community. If fact, some of the most vivid memories I have of Gary are from trips to attend SWAFS meetings, which we all enjoyed very much. I know he will be missed greatly.

Terry Gallegos - Distinguished Member

Gary Lawrence
Gary & Mary Lawrence SWAFS-OKC 2004
Gary Lawrence was an active and distinguished member of SWAFS, having served on committees, meeting planning in Little Rock, the Board of Directors and the three years as President-Elect, President and Chairman of the Board. He gave his time and expertise to the organization whenever he could.

During his time on the Board of Directors and as President, SWAFS grew and changed. We added a website run by volunteers and then we hired a professional company. The website has been a great addition to the way we do our business (voting and dues payments) and meeting announcements and registrations. Now, with the list-serve, we have almost instant messaging for everything from analytical questions to information sharing. The idea for a scholarship program began while Gary served on the Board of Directors in 1997-1998 and has been helpful to deserving students.

Gary attended most of the SWAFS meetings, traveling with the contingent from Little Rock to even the most faraway places, like Colorado Springs and Las Vegas. Surely, the road trips were events themselves in the Arkansas State station wagons.

We will all miss Gary and send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, co-workers and fellow SWAFS members.

Jill Dupre - Distinguished Member

Gary Lawrence
Gary Lawrence
SWAFS-San Antonio
It is with a heavy heart that SWAFS says good-bye to one of our own distinguished members. I had the distinct pleasure to serve with Gary as both a member of the board of directors as well as a fellow firearm examiner. It was as a member of the board that we really got to know each other.

Over the many years of our friendship we have shared lots of laughs. Gary always had a kind of a quiet, mischievous side to his personality and was always willing to share a story and a smile, but he kept you on your toes! He had a deep love of his family and for his passions, and was truly a gentleman’s gentleman.

Each meeting he attended there was always a story of adventure with the State Crime Lab station wagon. Those stories made for many a laugh over the years.

Gary made many contributions to the organization and because of his dedication to the organization, we have all benefited.

Gary, enjoy that big firearms lab in the sky. You will be missed.

Steve Valdez - Distinguished Member

A few years back I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Gary Lawrence. Fate would have us sharing a room as Gary was the outgoing president and I was the incoming president-elect of SWAFS.

One night during the week we were awakened by – I can’t remember what, but I remember why. Apparently there was a commotion caused by someone breathing fire. I don’t mean that as a metaphor, I mean truly someone was shooting flames (or more technically, a flammable substance…) out of their mouth in an exotic display of talent. Gary and I just looked at each other and shrugged – what were the two leaders of the organization supposed to do with that?

I found Gary to be soft-spoken and always a gentleman. He was a long time member of SWAFS and cared about this organization. I am saddened by his passing, but favored by his memory.

Mike Martinez - Distinguished Member

Gary will truly be missed. He will be remembered to me as a distinguished scientist and friend who has contributed much in the field of Forensics and gunshot residue. God bless to his family and closest friends.

Carla Noziglia - Distinguished Member

A true gentleman, Gary embodied the dedication to his craft that has helped forensic science progress. To his family, friends and colleagues, my prayers.