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Charles's Story

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Funeral services for Charles Ernest Lawrence are 10:00 am Monday April 24, 2017, at the First Baptist Church in Tahlequah. Formal visitation will be Sunday April 23rd from 2:00 pm to 4:00 at Green Country Funeral Home. Officiating will be Pastor Buddy Hunt. Pallbearers are Kevin Willis, Brian Willis, Charles Lawrence, David Lawrence, DJ Riner, Stephen Stierwalt, Darron McCord, Jason Taylor, and Matt Porter. Honorary pallbearers are Sean Scearce, Dick Stowe, Maurice Turney, Christian Abels, Steve Coppedge, Don Foster, Gary Gore, Gerald Kelley, Bob Perchway, Ron Hagel, Glen Stafford, Johnny Wells, MT Smith, Charles Hooper, and Dick Roberts. Interment will follow in the Fort Gibson National Cemetery at 1:00 pm under the care of Green Country Funeral Home. Online condolences for the family may be left at tahlequahfuneral.com
Rev. Charles Ernest Ernie Lawrence, son of Samuel E and Daisy (Rush) Lawrence was born on October 17, 1925 at Memphis, Missouri. Surrounded by his family he passed from this life on April 18, 2017 at Tahlequah, OK at the age of 91.
Ernie enlisted in the United States Marine Corp September 21, 1943, at age 17. As soon as he reached age 18 he was called up for boot camp at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. Because he had been trained in artillery, he was assigned to an Amphibian Tank Unit as a gunner. After Saipan was won he was sent to Iwo Jima. At 90 years old Ernie recalled the experience vividly. The island was small but the enemy was really dug in. On the first day 600 Marines were killed. By the end of the battle, 7,000 Marines were killed, and 20,000 were wounded. He was eye witness to the flag raising on Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was declared secure on March 16, 1945. Ernie was not injured at all during his service but witnessed so many horrors and lost a lot of buddies, that he promised God if he would get him through the war he would give his life to serving him.
Ernie married Gene Ann Mathews on September 17, 1947 in Grant City, MO. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma and received his Bachelors Degree from Ottawa University, Ottawa, KS. Not forgetting his promise to God, on September 4, 1949 Ernie was Ordained into the Ministry with his wife by his side at First Baptist Church, Grant City, MO. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Tahlequah since 1977, a Deacon, and filled the pulpit many times. Ernie and Gene Ann had three sons and one daughter.
Ernie and Gene Ann were members of the USMC WWII 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion Association-Saipan/Tinian/Iwo Jima and attended reunions all over the country, hosting three in Tahlequah when he was Executive Director. The last reunion was at Tulsa about seven years ago with only 10 members present. Ernie said, WWII was won by a bunch of kids who loved their country. Ernie touched many lives as he worked to accomplish all that he did and he will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him. Well done, my good and faithful servant… he served God to the fullest.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Wilma Timmer Lewis, and Alice Pearl Collett; and a granddaughter Jeanie Marie Lawrence.
Ernie is survived by a loving family which includes sister Ruby Lee Booth of Coldwater, KS; his wife Gene Ann Lawrence of the home; his children Larry and Walthena Lawrence of Tahlequah; David and Janet Lawrence of Moore, OK; Larry and Lonna Kennedy of Wagoner, OK; and Mathew and Janet Lawrence of Park Hill; 12 grandchildren Dr. DJ and Lori Riner of Tulsa, OK; Kevin and Sarah Willis of Tulsa, OK; Doug and Jeni Ryan of Mustang; Larry and Ashlea Kennedy; Trey and Erika Lawrence Golightly; Brian and Kelly Willis; Lisa and Stephen Stierwalt of Fayetteville, GA; Major Jason and Memory Taylor of Oklahoma City; Matt and Deanne Porter of Bethany; Darron and Adonna McCord; David and Stephanie Lawrence of Shawnee; Charles Lawrence of Parkhill, and 37 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. Many nieces, nephews, and other relatives survive him.
Published on  April 21, 2017
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