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GeneralBill Lawrence R.I.P.

7th Nov 2013 03:17 GMTRock Currier Expert

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Bill Lawrence 56, who was married to Jaye Smith of the Rocksmith’s was killed in a wash near Saint David, Arizona while collecting gypsum crystals from the near vertical the face of the wash which collapsed burying him under several feet of rock and dirt.

Bill was a life long mineral collector who started by joining the youth section of the Houston Gem and Mineral society. After he graduated from college he went to work for Superior Oil company in a technical capacity and eventually worked for Chevron Oil company in their laboratory. In September 2012 he took early retirement and he and Jaye moved to Tucson and had just built their dream house. Over the years Bill built an extensive mineral collection of about 7500 specimens and he specialized in Calcite but also liked baryte, galena, hematite and scheelite. They had just finished cataloging his collection. He loved to field collect when ever he could. Bill and Jaye were active members of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society and worked on the TGMS show as volunteers.

Bill Lawrence and an elderly local Tucson collector were collecting in the wash . His friend had wandered down the wash and was out of site of Bill when the wall collapsed. The noise and a big dust cloud was evidnnt but upon returning to the site where Bill had been collecting it was evident that he had been burried under several feet of rock and boulders. Bill had the car keys and cell phone with him so his friend had to walk about five miles back out of the wash to flag down a passing motorest. Members from the local search and rescue unit were soon on the scene. They tried to dig bill out with picks and shovels, but it was very difficult and eventually a back hoe from the local road department was brought in to recover Bills body. Jaye, Bills wife’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and Bills untimely death seems particularly cruel

Everyone who knew Bill will miss him. Always the life of the party with a joke and funny remarks. At times a real imp and loved gages like short sheeting someone if he got the chance. (I was the victim of his kind attentions years ago at the Desert Inn. It’s a real tragedy. If you spend time collecting in abandoned mines, which are often quite dangerous you can understand how your number could come up, but it is hard to imagine that you would be in danger by collecting on the surface in an open wash.

7th Nov 2013 13:13 GMTJohn Montgomery Expert

Very sad. My condolences to the family

John Montgomery

Ottawa, Canada

7th Nov 2013 13:14 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

Sorry to hear this. Condolences to Jaye.

7th Nov 2013 14:14 GMTDermot Walsh

condolences for family and friends



7th Nov 2013 14:52 GMTChester S. Lemanski, Jr. Manager

I am truly sorry to hear of this unfortumate accident. Bill and Jaye were good folks, always friendly and upbeat. I am certain that she is devastated. They shared several hobbies, including NASCAR. May he RIP.
Thank you all so much for your kind words. Your support and love will help Eldon, Jean and I get through the difficult days ahead. There will be a Celebration of Life for Bill at the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona, Tucson, January 31, 2014; all, whose lives were touched by Bill, are welcome. Further information will be available later this year. There are also two Memorial Funds set up in Bill's honor; please email me for more information.

8th Nov 2013 23:37 GMTHarold (Hal) Prior Expert

So Sorry to hear this. Bill and I shared a few collecting moments and many laughs together. Condolences to Jaye and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! ......Hal & Polly Prior.
The family has set-up a dedicated official website to Bill's memory and honor at I hope all of Bill's friends will visit, enjoy the pictures and leave a favorite story and tribute.

The photo from Bill's Celebration of Life on January 31, 2014 is courtesy of John Veevaert; the photo on the screen courtesy of Gail Spann. Thank you both!

3rd Mar 2014 22:27 GMTAnonymous User

Bill always had the biggest smile and a mischievous glint in his eye. A joy to be around. The day I heard of his accident, I was overcome with the sadness of his passing. His memory though is a happy one.
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