James J. Lawrence, Lt. Col., USAF Ret., who served for 10 years as Indian Shores mayor, died Dec. 26 after a long battle with cancer.
He was 68.
The town issued this statement, calling Lawrence a “beloved mayor”:
“Jim’s life was the epitome of a dedicated public servant as evidenced by his career serving our nation in the U.S. Air Force followed by 20 years of service in Pinellas County and the town of Indian Shores.
“Jim was an inspiration to everyone and helped create a culture of volunteerism that makes the town of Indian Shores ‘a great place to live.’
“He will be greatly missed.”
Lawrence and his wife, Alice, also a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, moved to Indian Shores in 1993 after retiring from the military. He had been a command pilot who had flown in every U.S. conflict from Vietnam to the first Gulf War.
Lawrence was elected to the Indian Shores Town Council in 1998. Lawrence chaired the public services committee for two years and the planning, zoning and building committee for five years. Lawrence serves as vice mayor for five of the eight years he served on the council.
He also served for three years on the board of directors of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the last two as treasurer and vice chair. He represented Indian Shores on the North Beaches YMCA board of directors from its inception in 2003 until its dissolution in 2007. From 2005-2007, he was the chair of the NBYMCA advisory board.
Lawrence was unopposed when he ran for mayor in 2006 and served the town as mayor until his death. 2006 after running unopposed for that position and was re-elected without opposition in 2009. He had served a stint as president of the Barrier Islands Governmental Council, also known as the Big C.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Alice; his son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Jennifer; two grandchildren, Cassidy and Gage; brother, Robert; and sisters Gini Boughner, and Pati Evans; and much-loved dog, Billy.
A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Jan. 9 at the Indian Shores Municipal Center Pavilion, 19305 Gulf Blvd.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to an animal shelter.