DES MOINES, Iowa -- Thomas M. Lawrence, 67, of Des Moines, died of natural causes on May 29, 2019, at his home in Des Moines.
A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held from 1 until 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home, 1931 Houser Street, Muscatine.
Thomas was born on March 12, 1952, in Bossier City, Louisiana, the second son of Stan "Hack" Lawrence and Joan Lawrence. He grew up in Muscatine and attended Muscatine Public schools, graduating from Muscatine High in 1970. He later attended Marycrest College in Davenport, where he graduated with a degree in communications.
Early in his career he worked as a Library Assistant at Musser Public Library and as a DJ for several different Quad-City and Iowa City radio stations. He found his true calling when he joined the staff of the Bootleggers performing wait staff at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island. He knew that was where he belonged and he helped to entertain audiences there for nearly 30 years. He was a real showman with a beautiful singing voice. He was reading by age 3 and excelled not just at trivia, but in being deeply knowledgeable about nearly everything. So naturally, in 1988, he fulfilled a lifelong dream of appearing on "Jeopardy!" and ended up being a three-day champion there. He was an avid runner and completed the Bix 7 and Watermelon Stampede road races numerous times. He was a great fan of old monster movies, comic book superheroes, the Beatles, the Iowa Hawks and the New York Yankees.
Left to honor his memory are four brothers, John (Judy), of Mount Pleasant; Mark, of Muscatine; Bryan (Karen), of Des Moines; and Steven (Sheila) of Muscatine; one sister, Lynn Kellner (Mike), of Des Moines, and seven nieces and nephews, Adam Lawrence of Muscatine; Jason, Connor and Callie Lawrence; Rachel Wilke-Shapiro and Monica Wilke; and Lindsey Scott, all of Des Moines.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
"Dear Lawrence family,
We are so sorry for the loss of your brother, Tom. I have fond memories of him as our Bootlegger when Doug and I would attend a Circa 21 production. I also want you to know that at the tender age of three, I remember my dad saying to me, "Tommy is so bright!" Apparently, Lynn and I used to sit on our front porch swing on Chestnut Street in Muscatine. Tom would sit in between us and read the funny paper to us! He was a great guy. We send our love and sympathy, Nancy (Reed) and Doug Hultquist"
"I was so sorry for your loss of Tom. He was such a bright and talented fellow. I'm sorry I'm not able to attend the visitation, but I send my love and sympathy to all.