Michael Cannon Lawrence

Michael Cannon Lawrence

Died November 12, 2013

Mike grew up in West Hartford, CT and came to Yale on a Suisman Foundation Scholarship, after graduating from the Loomis School. He majored in history and was a member of Morse College, where he played soccer and served on the Social Committee. He was also a member of the Political Union, the Yale Management Association and Alpha Phi Omega. After graduation, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and later attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an M.B.A.

Mike’s life of joyous involvement with his family, his business, his community and his church was testament to the idea that happiness correlates with the level of connection to other people. His wife, Nancy, had family roots in Clearwater, FL, where she and Mike moved after he had finished graduate school and completed his obligation to the Navy. They took over operating a chain called Ace Liquor Stores, which Nancy’s family had started 15 years earlier.

Mike was a lifelong sports fan, starting with the New York Yankees, then Yale, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Clearwater Central Catholic. When the Harvard-Yale game was at the Yale Bowl, he attended as often as he could and, when Yale won the NCAA hockey championship, he sported Yale hockey jerseys.

Mike was especially devoted to his only child, a daughter, Jennifer, who competed in audience to cheer for her. He eventually caught the bug himself and dipped his toe into the business of horse breeding. One of the horses he bred was nicknamed Number 7 after the Yankee’s Mickey Mantle. When a granddaughter came along, she moved to the center of his life. It was no secret that Mike had heart disease, but nobody expected him to die of it in the near future, in the midst of a vigorous life. He was already planning how he would move from playing simple board games with his granddaughter to teaching her chess. When Mike died, on November 12, 2013, following an operation to replace a heart valve and open his coronary arteries, it was a great shock.

People in his community said that they had horse shows, with her father invariably in the lost a person of such warmth as to make them feel like members of his own family. One envisioned him already in heaven, enjoying a beer with a friend. Another remembered how kind Mike was to him when he was a young salesman doing business with the liquor stores. Others recalled many good times they had with him. All remembered him and his family with prayers.

At his death, Mike was survived by his wife, Nancy, to whom he had been married for 47 years, daughter Jennifer Katko, granddaughter Caroline Katko, son-in-law Andrew Katko, sister June Rickard, and nephews and nieces.

James Murphy remembers:
My two fondest memories of Mike are his compulsive interest in all competitive college and professional sports, particularly Yale athletics, and his sense of humor which often led to devious practical jokes on his friends.