Gaylon Lawrence | Families
On March 15, 1934, Gaylon M. Lawrence was born on his family's farm north of Pollard, Arkansas.
From those humble beginnings he grew to become a leader in banking, business and agriculture.
At 7:21 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, Mr. Lawrence died at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, following a prolonged illness.
Mr. Lawrence owned more than 170,000 acres of prime farmland in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. In 2010, he purchased Lee Wilson & Company of Wilson, Arkansas, for $150 million. The Lawrence Group is one of the largest family-farming organizations in the United States.
Mr. Lawrence was also the owner of Premier Citrus Packers of Vero Beach, owning more than 30,000 acres of citrus groves. Premier is Florida’s largest producers of fresh oranges and grapefruit.
In addition to farming, Mr. Lawrence owned five banks throughout Region 8; including Piggott State Bank, which was his first acquisition. He also owned Farmers Bank and Trust of Blytheville; First National Bank in Kennett, Dexter, Malden and Clarkton; First Missouri Bank of Poplar Bluff and Tennessee Bank and Trust in Franklin, Tennessee.
Mr. Lawrence was also the owner of the world’s largest privately owned heating and air conditioning distributor, U.S. Air Conditioning Distributors in City of Industry, California.
While Mr. Lawrence amassed a great fortune, he was also rich in love and admiration from his many friends and family members. To them he was a great man who will never be replaced.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Rita Dees and David Monroe Lawrence of Pollard, Arkansas.
He is survived by Mary Elizabeth Woods of the home in Vero Beach, FL; two sons and one daughter-in-law, David Monroe Lawrence of Kennett and Gaylon and Lisa Lawrence, Jr. of Memphis; and one sister and brother-in-law, Martena and Robert Davis of Pollard. Also surviving are four grandchildren, Drew Lawrence of Wilson, AR; Westin Lawrence, a student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL; Mollie Claire Lawrence of Memphis, TN; Pia Lawrence, a student at Baylor University in Waco, TX; and one niece, Patricia Davis of Jonesboro, AR.
Visitation for Mr. Lawrence will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. Saturday at Nunnelee Funeral Chapel, 205 North Stoddard in Sikeston.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 1307 North Main in Sikeston.
He will be buried at New Hope Cemetery in Pollard, Arkansas.
Memorial contributions may be sent to:
The Gaylon M. Lawrence Scholarship Fund for Piggott, Arkansas High School
c/o Piggott, Arkansas State Bank
P.O. Box 307
Piggott, AR 72454