Legal 04

Judge Kent Lawrence

June 3, 1947 ~ March 13, 2020 (age 72)



In the interest of current public health concerns, the visitation and funeral services scheduled for the late Athens Judge Kent Lawrence have been postponed according to a family spokesman.

Judge Lawrence died Friday, March 13, after an extended illness. 

Visitation was originally scheduled for Monday from 1-3 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m. at Lord and Stephens East in Athens.  The funeral service was scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, at 11:00 a.m. at Tuckston United Methodist Church, Athens, GA.

A public memorial service and celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.

The Judge Kent Lawrence Football Scholarship Endowment was recently established to honor Judge Lawrence and provide future student-athletes the opportunity to compete in his honor.

In honor of Judge Lawrence, the Clarke-County Sheriff’s Office, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, and University of Georgia Police Department will lead a memorial procession Tuesday escorting him and his family through Athens.  People are welcome to assemble along the route which will begin at Lord and Stephens East Funeral Home at 10:00 a.m. and travel:

Eastbound on Lexington Road into downtown Athens

Right on Thomas Street

Left onto Washington Street passing the Courthouse

Right onto Jackson Street

Left onto Hancock Avenue

Left onto College Avenue passing City Hall

Right onto Broad Street

Left onto Lumpkin Street

Left onto Cedar Street

Left onto Sanford Drive passing Sanford Stadium

Right onto Baldwin Street

Right onto Oconee Street

Judge Kent Lawrence passed away Friday, March 13, 2020 after an extended illness. He was born in Central, South Carolina on June 3, 1947. 

Kent signed a football scholarship with the University of Georgia after being recruited by Coach Vince Dooley in 1965.  One of his top football achievements was his performance in the 1966 Cotton Bowl Game, against SMU, where he earned MVP honors. He was later inducted into the Cotton Bowl Football Hall of Fame. 

After graduation from UGA, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and later played for the  Atlanta Falcons. 

In 1971, was hired by the UGA Police Department as a patrol officer and detective. In 1974, he was selected to be the first Police Chief of the newly established Clarke County Police Department. While pursuing his law degree at Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta. He worked fulltime as a special investigator with the District Attorney’s Office prior to becoming a prosecuting attorney. 

In 1985, he was appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris as State Court Judge of Clarke County where he faithfully served for 26 years. Judge Lawrence joined the State DUI Task Force in 1992, and in 2001, he established the first DUI Court in the State of Georgia.  He retired as Chief Judge of the State Court of Clarke County in 2011. 

Kent was a long-time member of Tuckston UMC and was a member of the Northeast GA Emmaus Community. He enjoyed attending sporting events, golfing, fishing, and traveling with family. 

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Karlene Kleckner Lawrence; five children: Kelley (Sarah) Lawrence of Augusta, GA; Kami (Chris) Roberts of Blackshear, GA; Kimberly (Mark) Costello of Athens, GA; Bobby (Christine) Longmire of Denver, CO;  and John (Julie) Longmire of South Riding, VA. His fifteen grandchildren: Anna, Lucy, and Ben Lawrence; Joshua, Kellen, Claire, and Allen Roberts; Lauren and Andrew Costello; Bobby, Elliana, and Grayson Longmire; and Clara, Daisy, and Josephine Longmire, with another Longmire on the way. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ruth Lawrence; his brother, Bobby (Terri) Lawrence; along with a niece, Lyn (John) Mixon; and several nephews, Chuck Lawrence; Jeffrey (Amber) Lawrence; and Kevin (Cary) Lawrence.

He was predeceased by his parents, Norman and Clyde Lawrence; and his brother, Charles Lawrence. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to:  

The Judge Kent Lawrence Football Scholarship Endowment Fund

UGA Athletic Association, PO Box 1472, Athens, GA. 30602

This will endow a football scholarship for a student athlete pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judge Kent Lawrence, please visit our floral store.


March 16, 2020

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Lord and Stephens - East
4355 Lexington Road
Athens, Georgia 30605

March 16, 2020

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Lord and Stephens - East
4355 Lexington Road
Athens, Georgia 30605

Funeral Service
March 17, 2020

11:00 AM
Tuckston United Methodist Church
4175 Lexington Rd.
Athens, GA 30605


Tuckston United Methodist Cemetery
4175 Lexington Road
Athens, GA 30605

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