October 27, 1944 – March 23, 2021
Husband, brother, uncle, cousin, raconteur, fisher, hunter, thinker, lover, photographer, character, academic and friend to so many, Judge Paul Lawrence passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in Terrace, B.C. on March 23, 2021 with his loving wife Mary Ann and dearest Candice by his side.
Born in North Vancouver on October 27, 1944, Paul enjoyed the outdoors from an early age and throughout his life pursued adventure on the water and in the bush. After graduating from UBC in 1969, Paul put his brilliant mind and law degree to work at the Vancouver law firms of Maczko & Poyner; Paradis, Lawrence & Sanderson and Doust & Smith.
Following his appointment to the bench in 1984 Paul realized a dream when he moved, with his new bride Mary Ann, to preside over the Provincial Court in Terrace and live in their beloved log home beside the Skeena River in Usk. They embraced this new life outside the city together and formed a strong and unique bond that sustained them in their many joint and individual activities.
Thus, a new chapter began in the life of this remarkable man, as the move to the Pacific Northwest opened up new opportunities and allowed new friendships and passions to emerge.
Paul fished the rivers of the Skeena Valley and the waters out of Prince Rupert and Kitimat, hunted the vast wilderness north of Terrace, mentored young outdoor enthusiasts, hiked the mountain trails around Terrace including Sleeping Beauty, explored the Spatsizi Plateau on horseback and went “south” to fly fish, hunt and holiday in the Cariboo Chilcotin, all the while becoming a highly respected judge and community member.
Judge Lawrences’ circuit court adventures stretched from Burns Lake to the Queen Charlotte Islands and from Terrace to Dease Lake. On the northern circuit he became well known and respected in communities such as Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek, with many Tall Tales to tell of eventful excursions along the Stewart Cassiar Highway with his Court Circuit Party.
On the bench he was known for being thorough and fair, and his decisions were well reasoned while at times witty.
His lifelong passion for fishing and hunting was legendary among the members of the Kingfishers Rod & Gun Club and fisher and hunter friends throughout the province. Paul’s skill in these areas was extraordinary. It is said he could “read water” and tie the best flies imaginable, while simultaneously telling stories and enjoying a wee dram, or two.
As a firearms aficionado Paul was the real deal-loading, sighting and preparing his firearms meticulously for every occasion. He was an active member of the Terrace Rod & Gun Club where he enjoyed competitive trap shooting and all things gun related. It was there that he willingly shared his vast knowledge of the sport with less experienced members.
Over the years in Terrace the Lawrence homes, both in Usk and later on the bench in town, became a special gathering place for their many friends. Amidst Paul’s beautiful black and white nature photographs, their welcoming table often offered up a bounty of fresh fish and wild game.
Paul loved life and lived it to the fullest, always with a good dog or two by his side. As a voracious reader and lover of literature he could entertain a crowd with a favourite story or a piece of poetry.
These Robert Service lines from “The Spell of The Yukon” seem an appropriate farewell:
It’s the great, big, broad land way up yonder,
It’s the forest where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that fills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, MaryAnn (Irwin), brother Mark Lawrence (Bonnie Walker), sisters-in-law Sharon (Gary Holland), Betty (Ray Brunelle) and his brother-in-law Jim Irwin (Lorraine Kelly). Paul was predeceased by his parents Roy and Harriet Lawrence.
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude for the compassionate care and support provided to Mary Ann and Paul from friends, neighbours, family and community care workers.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the REM Lee Foundation, the Terrace Legion Poppy Fund, the Northwest Therapeutic Equestrian Association or a charity of choice.
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