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Dr. Cortez Lawrence

July 9, 1946 March 1, 2017
Dr. Cortez Lawrence
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Obituary for Dr. Cortez Lawrence
Dr. Cortez Lawrence, US Army Retired, 70, died suddenly, Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at the Gettysburg Hospital.

He leaves his wife Peggy Trujillo- Lawrence, his daughter Lisa (Lawrence) Rowe, his daughter Leslie (Lawrence) Spradlin, his daughter Allyson (Hahn) Martin, his sister LaJuan (Lawrence) Hayes, 8 grandchildren and many more family and friends.

Dr. Cortez Lawrence was born July 9, 1946 in Ft. Benning, Georgia, the son of the late Lester and Hazel Hires Lawrence. He was a dedicated member of the Eagle Scouts, where he received the Order of the Arrow and the God for Country distinction.

Cortez served in both the United States Marine Corps and Army. He served as Lieutenant and platoon leader during the Vietnam War with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Purple Heart two times for wounds received in combat, along with many other meritorious and campaign medals. He was a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He later served in Germany, and left the military as a Major during the drawdown of the war.

He was a graduate of North Georgia College, where he received a BA in Military History. Dr. Lawrence received his JD in law from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia; MPA and PhD in Public Administration and Policy from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; and a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Fellows Program for State and Local Government Executives.

Dr. Lawrence began his fire career in Hall County, GA in 1972 and proceeded to rise through the ranks and served in a variety of departments as an officer, fire marshal, division commander and chief. He helped found the first Georgia Smoke Diver program, and he spent several years working as a fire marshal for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, and at assignments worldwide. He served as Deputy Director of the Public Safety Department for the City of Auburn, Alabama.
He started his career in the Federal Emergency Management Agency on September 10, 2001, and held several positions- Division Director at the United States Fire Administration, Superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute, Superintendent of the Center for Domestic Preparedness, and most recently as an Assistant to the U.S. Fire Administrator. During Hurricane Katrina, he served as the emergency services branch chief in the field offices in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

In his leisure time, he devoted many hours to his passion for motorcycle racing as a representative for the Kawasaki dirt biking division; an acclaimed and accredited artist in the medium of watercolors and oil, featured in galleries throughout Pennsylvania and Alabama; and his love of history.

We all knew him as an extraordinary man, a good friend, a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. We will miss his sense of humor, wry wit, quick smile, remarkable analytic skills, and his constant encouragement to excel.

Interment with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Purple Heart Foundation, 7008 Little River Turnpike, P.O. Box 49, Annandale, VA 22003. Online obituary and condolences available at

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11:00 AM 7/25/2017 11:00:00 AM
Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Ave.
Arlington, VA 22211

Arlington National Cemetery
Memorial Ave. Arlington 22211 VA
United States

Cemetery Details


Arlington National Cemetery Final Resting Place

Memorial Ave.
Arlington, VA 22211

Memorial Ave. Arlington 22211 VA
United States

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