Farewell to Two Fire Chiefs

Farewell to Two Fire Chiefs

Cabin John honors Charles Edward Lawrence Jr. and Frank Leizear Sr. after both die on same weekend.

A man of many trades during his lifetime, Charles Edward Lawrence saw that all projects were carried out fully and correctly.

“Charlie, when he started something, he finished it,” said Margaret Lawrence, his wife of 67 years.

Lawrence, of Rockville, died on Saturday, March 31 at the age of 88. Lawrence served as the chief and president of the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department during much of the 1960s and 1970s. He also spent much of his professional life in the construction business.

During his time as chief at Cabin John, Lawrence was integral in the expansion of the department.

“Charlie realized we couldn’t protect our entire area with just one station,” said Jim Seavey, chief of Cabin John. It was through the effort initiated by Lawrence that Cabin John eventually grew from the lone outpost on River Road to a two-station department with the second station on Falls Road.

Lawrence was also instrumental in the department’s acquisition the first fire engines purchased with funds raised by the department, Seavey said.

Lawrence was buried on Friday, April 6 at Parklawn Memorial Park, and a funeral service was held earlier that day at the Collins Funeral Home in Silver Spring.

Engine 101 helped to lead the procession from the funeral home to the cemetery.

Approximately 80 people filled the small room where his casket stood to share their memories of Lawrence with one another.

“We will forever be indebted to Charlie and to Margaret for letting [Charlie] come and run for president, time and again, and [Margaret] will always be a part of the Cabin John family,” said Seavey.

IN ADDITION to his service and his work in the construction industry, Lawrence held many other jobs during his lifetime. As a young man he worked as a Western Union bike messenger in Washington, D.C. then ran a television repair shop, said his son Brad Lawrence.   Charles Lawrence was also a band leader, a pilot and a boatman, as well as a Mason and a Shriner.

Charles Lawrence had flown single-winged and bi-planes during the 1930s and dreamed of becoming a pilot for the U.S. military in World War II, but that dream was dashed when he fell from a bridge that he was helping to repair and broke his back in 1942, Brad Lawrence said.

Those close to Charles Lawrence remembered his diligence and his ability to work closely with others on intricate delicate matters, no matter what the project line of work.

Lawrence oversaw the construction of a large shopping mall in Salt Lake City in the late 1970s. He and his wife moved out there for about a year and a half while he oversaw the project.

“We always remembered that as one of the happiest times in our marriage,” said Margaret Lawrence.

Brad Lawrence remembered his father as a busy man who worked hard to provide for his family and still managed to spend quality personal time with his children.

“He showed and gave love to all of us the only way he knew how,” said Brad Lawrence.

He did the same for his grandchildren, and built a swingset for Brad’s daughter.

“You will always be in my heart and mind,” Brad Lawrence said of his father. “You will be missed by all of us.”

Charles Edward Lawrence, Jr. is survived by his wife, Margaret, his daughter Janice and his son Brad and five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The family of Charles Edward Lawrence, Jr. asks that those who wish to make donations make them to the Cabin John Park VFD, 8001 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 .

FRANK LEIZEAR, SR. didn't smoke and didn't drink, but he was a gambling man.

On April 1, Leizear and his wife were returning to Miami aboard the cruiseliner they had spent the last week vacationing on.

Moments after hitting a royal flush on the slot machine Leizear suffered a heart attack and died.

"It comes as no surprise that [he] cashed in his chips in such a winning way," said Seavey.

Leizear served in the U.S. Army in Korea, then returned home and joined the Bethesda Fire Department in 1950, Seavey said. He served as chief at BFD in the late 1970s and early 1980s before he retired.

Retirement didn't keep Leizear out of firefighting, said Seavey, and Leizear soon moved up the road to become the assistant chief at Cabin John and eventually its president from 1984 until 1991.

During his years of service at Bethesda and Cabin John, Leizear also served on several county-wide fire legislative and oversight boards, Seavey said.

Leizear retired to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1992 and ran a restaurant at a local golf course until his death.

"May God bless you Chief; you have earned such well-needed rest, dear friend," said Seavey in his eulogy to Lazear. "I shall always be in your debt for what you taught me as so many others will."

Leizear is survived by his wife of 53 years, Peggy and sons Frank, junior, Glen and Larry and eight grandchildren.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are made to the Hope Lutheran Church Building Fund, 4 Oceans West Blvd, #304C, Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118 or Hospice of Volusia/Flagler, 3800 Woodbriar Trail, Port Orange, FL 32129. For information on funeral arrangements contact Lohman Funeral Home in Daytona at www.lohmanfuneralhomes.com.