In Memory of Donald Lawrence

NameDonald DeWayne Lawrence
BornJuly 11, 1969
Place of BirthSan Jose, California
DiedApril 3, 2005
Place of DeathEden Medical Center, Castro Valley, California
Memorial ServiceApril 17, 2005, 5:00 PM
Eden United Church of Christ, Hayward, California

Donald’s passing

Donald died peacefully in his sleep with his companion, Tony Lewis, and his pastor, The Rev. Dr. Arlene K. Nehring, at his bedside. You may read more about Donald’s final days. Depending on how recently you have had contact with Don and Tony, you may also want to read the rest of the story.

Since Don’s death, many people have expressed disbelief at not having known that Don had been sick. He did not want people to know that he had AIDS so he did not discuss his health with even his closest friends.


Donald DeWayne Lawrence, 35, of Castro Valley, California passed away April 3, 2005 at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. A memorial service will be held at Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward on Sunday, April 17 at 5 o’clock p.m. A private sea scattering will be held at a later date.

Mr. Lawrence was a life-long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a member of Eden United Church of Christ. Survivors include his mother, Evelyn Lawrence; his life partner and companion of 14 years, Tony Lewis; 2 brothers, Richard Lawrence and James Lawrence II; 2 sisters, Linda Calyer and Jeannie May; 4 nephews, 3 nieces, and many friends.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Memorial Fund at Eden United Church of Christ (510) 582-9533 / or to the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency in San Leandro,

(Arrangements: Neptune Society of No. CA - Castro Valley, (510) 889-7110).

as printed in The Daily Review and the San Jose Mercury News on April 6, 2005

What Donald Wanted His Loved Ones to Know

  • I wish to have my family and friends know that I love them.
  • I wish to be forgiven for the times I have hurt my family, friends, and others.
  • I wish to have my family, friends, and others know that I forgive them for when they may have hurt me in life.
  • I wish for my family and friends to know that I do not fear death itself. I think it is not the end, but a new beginning for me.
  • I wish for all of my family members to make peace with each other before my death, if they can.
  • I wish for my family and friends to think about what I was like before I became seriously ill. I want them to remember me in this way after my death.
  • I wish for my family and friends and caregivers to respect my wishes even if they don’t agree with them.
  • I wish for my family and friends to look at my dying as a time of personal growth for everyone, including me. This will help me live a meaningful life in my final days.
  • I wish for my family and friends to get counseling if they have trouble with my death. I want memories of my life to give them joy and not sorrow.
  • I wish for my body to be cremated and for my ashes to be scattered on the San Francisco Bay.
signed by Donald Lawrence on March 28, 2005 (text adapted from Five Wishes)

Private Family Memorial

Donald’s family gathered for a private memorial service on April 5, 2005. You may read the order for the Service of Remembrance and Gathering.

Public Memorial

A memorial service was held at Eden United Church of Christ on Sunday, April 17 at 5 o'clock p.m. The memorial service was interpreted in American Sign Language. You may read: A photo montage was created in PowerPoint and displayed both before and after the Public Memorial Service. All of the pictures in the montage are available in a ZIP archive.

Private Sea Scattering

Donald’s ashes were scattered on the San Francisco Bay during a private service on Saturday, July 9, 2005. He would have been 36 on July 11th.

Return to Exelana home page