On Friday, July 21, 2023, Lawrence Medina, a loving and devoted husband, dad, grandpa, and grandpapa, passed away peacefully at age eighty-two after a twelve-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. A faithful Catholic and follower of Jesus, Lawrence earnestly and clearly expressed to his family he was ready to leave his failing earthly body and live in his new body in eternity with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lawrence was the first-born son of Trinidad and Mela Medina and was raised in Wagon Mound, NM. He was born at home and was told he was so tiny his grandmother had to keep him bundled up and warmed in a box by the fireplace. He quickly grew into a champion athlete and some of his fondest memories growing up were playing basketball and baseball from little league through high school. Lawrence held the 1960 Gallup Invitational Basketball record for 22 years as the highest scorer in the state, scoring 39 points in one game. He also held the Invitational record for scoring a total of 89 points in 3 games. He always wore #22 or #23 on his basketball jerseys and wore #8 as catcher on the baseball team. His love of playing and watching sports, especially high-school and college games, continued throughout his lifetime and you could always count on him knowing who was playing and the latest scores.
It was in front of the library at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM where Lawrence met the love of his life, Patricia (Pat). As Lawrence would tell it, he knew from the first moment he laid eyes on this 18-year-old beauty, that she was meant to be his wife. Four weeks later he asked for her hand, and they married just four months later. Lawrence went on to graduate from Highlands University with a BA in Industrial Arts in Education and a minor in Physical Education. He later attended UNM where he earned a master’s degree in Industrial Arts. A life-long learner and educator, he also attended Western Illinois State College, Grambling State University in Louisiana, and Earlham College in Indiana to work towards additional training and advanced degrees.
His love for his students and passion for teaching was evident in the 40 years he spent in the classroom, teaching 30 years at Bernalillo High School, 5 years at St. Therese Catholic school, and 5 more years as a substitute teacher with APS. He was known as a firm and strict teacher who loved to inspire students to be all they could become. He was chosen as most influential teacher several times by many students, and former students in their adult years would often give him a phone call or drop by to thank him for the tough love that kept them on a straight path and led them to successful careers. He was so proud of the thousands of young people he inspired over the years.
Throughout his life Lawrence was an avid sportsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing with friends and family. Lawrence was also skilled at woodworking, making furniture and, along with his father, even building the first house where he and Pat lived. A devout Catholic, Lawrence used his woodworking skills in retirement to craft crosses for the rosaries he beaded by hand. Over the last twelve years he made hundreds of rosaries and would joyfully give them away so long as the recipient promised they would use it for prayer and not just as a decoration.
One of the things Lawrence’s children and grandchildren learned by watching him was how to demonstrate compassion, respect, and love for others regardless of their title or status. He knew that Jesus loved and valued every single person and therefore, everyone he encountered deserved to be treated with the same kindness and respect. In line with his compassionate heart for others, Roadrunner Food Bank was fortunate to have him as a volunteer where he logged over 1,000 hours after he retired by helping to pack boxes and sort food.
Lawrence is survived by his loving and devoted wife of nearly 60 years, Pat, who was by his side daily and who sweetly and tenderly attended to his needs; his children, Gary, Karen Merwin, Deanna Brown and husband Josh; grandchildren, Phillip (Jinelle) and his mom Susan Medina, Emily (Jonathan), Connor (Sela), Cali, Ellie, and Owen; great-grandchildren, Hadley, Miles, and Holland, who fondly called him Grandpapa; as well as many extended family members and close friends.
Over the last 8 months Lawrence was lovingly cared for by a wonderful group of people who became his “bonus family” at The Retreat Gardens in Rio Rancho. To each of them his family would like to say thank you, they love you, and you will always be a part of their hearts.
His family is comforted knowing that as a believer and follower of Jesus, Lawrence is now peacefully in Heaven celebrating with his brother Frank (1989), his father Trinidad (1995), and his mother Mela (2016).
Rosary will be recited Friday, August 18, 2023, 9:30 a.m. at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 5712 Paradise Blvd NW, Albuquerque, Mass will immediately follow, Father Tri will be Officiating.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in his name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research https://www.michaeljfox.org/ or Roadrunner Foodbank in Albuquerque https://www.rrfb.org