Developer, Attorney Bob Lawrence Dies After Long Cancer Battle

The well-known attorney and developer passed away Thursday after a three-year battle with metastatic melanoma

By R. Stickney
|  Friday, Dec 16, 2011  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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In Memoriam

Laurie Black

Bob Lawrence with wife Laurie Black.

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Well-known San Diego attorney and real estate developer Robert “Bob” Lawrence died Thursday night after a long battle with cancer.

Lawrence, 53, developed projects overlooking Balboa Park, in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter and in Mission Hills/Hillcrest. A graduate of USD Law School, he was also actively involved in the San Diego political arena.

However, over the last several years he served as a symbol of life and hope for friends and family as well as other cancer survivors by sharing his battle with diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.

When Lawrence first went to see doctors, he discovered he had a large brain tumor, several lung tumors, a tumor on his hip and a suspected tumor in his liver.

As he described in a YouTube clip shot in Feb. 2011, doctors told him he had two weeks to two months to live.

Lawrence credited his wife Laurie Black for saving his life. Black, who resigned from her position as a San Diego Port Commissioner immediately after her husband’s initial diagnosis, posted updates through Facebook until Lawrence moved into hospice care.

Then, early Friday morning, Black posted a thank you to friends who supported the family over the last two and a half years saying “An angel flew to heaven tonight to receive his wings.”

Lawrence fought the cancer, undergoing three brain surgeries in 32 months.

“It’s a very hard battle and there are very hard times. There are times when you feel you have no hope and times when you think you do,” Lawrence said of his battle against cancer.

“It’s a rollercoaster of an experience.”

He and Black traveled together over the last two years. They have four children. He watched as his eldest son married, attended two of their college graduations, attended his daughter's bat mitzvah and drove cross-country with a son headed to college.

“Bob Lawrence is one of the bravest men I know,” one person posted to his YouTube clip. “Thank you for sharing your journey through the dark melanoma diagnosis.”

Services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18 at Congregation Beth Israel.

Lawrence's father was M. Larry Lawrence who was U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton.

Find out more about the symptoms of melanoma here.

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