The larger than life and always joyful Richard “The Mayor” Gary Lawrence left this world all too suddenly on Wednesday June 26, 2019.
Born in Schnectady, New York on January 9, 1965 to Gary John Lawrence and Darlene Margaret Lamont Lawrence, he spent his youth in the upstate New York area. After moving to Pasco County, Florida in his late teens, he spent the duration of his life here. He would often joke that he has been here so long he is actually an official “Cracker”.
Rick was undoubtedly the kindest, funniest, most giving soul to everyone lucky enough to cross his path. He would light up a room as soon as he walked in and the energy and positivity could be felt in the air. He was passionate about the things that were important to him and put his all into every aspect. First and foremost was his family.
The pride and joy he got from his children was only mirrored by the amazing experiences and support he tried to show them. His grandchildren only escalated that happiness and made his smile even bigger. He accepted his stepchildren as his own and loved them fiercely as well. He always said that nothing made him happier and prouder than seeing them do better and go further than he did. They were all the light of his life and the topic of many bragging sessions.
He was an amazing, doting, and devoted husband and not only best friend but best buddy to his wife in good times and in bad. He was dedicated and attentive and willing to ride out all the unforeseen speed bumps that life can throw at you.
He was an amazing, powerlifter but competing was the smallest part of this passion. He got no greater joy than training a new athlete, offering tips to anyone who would ask, encouraging all of his friends and most importantly his closest competitiors. He always said that “your biggest competition is yourself”. He spent 30 years in the powerlifing world. He held numerous records with the bench press being his specialty and a great source of pride. He headed numerous teams as well as training Special Olympics athletes in the sport that he loved so much. Rick was the Florida state chairman of the American Powerlifting Federation and an amazing ambassador for the sport to athletes around the world. He put on numerous events of his own with the largest and most impressive of all being the World Powerlifting Congress 2018 World Championships. He put his heart and soul into every event and thrived on all the positive feedback. He was also hugely instrumental in helping any other promoter put on the best meet and experience possible. He loved his sport, his friends, his strength, and the opportunities to brighten and enhance the sport for anyone new he met. He was everyone's biggest fan and cheerleader and would jump in to do anything and everything for anyone whether he knew them or not when asked.
His third great passion after family and powerlifting was FUN. Anyone who is asked will always use that word in
describing him. He took his fun very seriously and just being in his presence insured that those in his company were going to have fun too. He loved to travel, entertain, and socialize. He grew a huge circle of friends simply because he never met a stranger. Everyone was always welcome and quickly went from stranger to friend. He enveloped people with his jolly warmth and people tended to gravitate to it. His smile was infectious. His laugh which was so genuine and intense would assure his belly shook and his cheeks were so high it was impossible to see his eyes.
He was generous to a fault. He could never tell anyone no and would often give even when not asked. He would often come home speaking of someone in a tough situation and immediately try to figure out how to help. He volunteered his time and knowledge in many different way to athletes but also participated with out reach in the community. He dressed as Santa and delivered gifts to the homeless and underpriviledged in the wee hours of Christmas morning in the New Port Richey area for a number of years as well as helping at many other countless events without ever advertising his time or expecting commendation.
He is survived by his loving wife Tamara who will always consider him the love of her life, partner in crime, and greatest advocate. He was the hero to and idolized by his beautiful children Michael Lawrence, Jane Lawless (Justin), Gabrielle Ivers (Justin), and Deborah Lawrence. He was loved by the stepchildren that he also wrapped his heart around, Ashley Jones, Alyssa Jones (Doug), Ethan Jones, and Austin Jones. He was magical force to be reckoned with and ultimate playmate by his precious grandchildren Lily Lawrence, Abigale Lawless, Riley Lawrence, Aubrey Lawless, and Anderson Jones. He was extremely blessed and appreciative to still have the support of his parents Gary Lawrence (Barb) and his brother Robert Lawrence (Barb) who he always knew were in his corner. A host of numerous amounts of nieces, nephews, inlaws, cousins, etc will also sorely miss him. “Family” was never about blood to him and there are so many who were blessed to be counted as part of his family.
Although may are mourning the loss that special light he shone on us all, we are all better for getting to bask in it if even for as short time and the stars will twinkle much brighter tonight.
The family asks that you join in a Celebration of Life following the services at The Village Pub at 1pm at 6217 Grand Blvd in downtown New Port Richey, FL.