Jim Lawrence, who directed several summer programs for the Vergilian Society, passed away at his home in Syracuse on August 18, 2017 at the age of 77. Jim was a faithful supporter of the Vergilian Society, participating in many summer programs and, jointly with Beverly Berg, directing three, the first, based at the Villa Vergiliana, in 1999, the second in Sicily in 2001, and the third in 2003, in Provence and Northern Italy. Jim loved the Latin poets, Vergil, Ovid, and Catullus, and his sensitive presentation of their works were particularly popular, and spontaneously applauded, on his programs. He had a great affection for the Villa and the site of Cumae, as well as other peaceful ruins, including Saepinum and Hadrian’s villa.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jim graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. and M.A. in Classics. Before doing graduate work at Brown University, he studied piano and organ with famous keyboard performers Olga Conas, Wayne Fisher, and Marcel Dupré. Jim began his career teaching Classics at LeMoyne College, and then became Chair of the World Language department at Manlius Pebble Hill School, where he taught Latin, Greek and French from 1968 until his retirement in 2006. He was the recipient of numerous Fulbright fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a communicant at the Church of the Savior (Episcopal), where starting in 1968 he served as Organist and Choirmaster. A talented scholar and educator, he is fondly remembered for his kind demeanor, quick wit, and for his love of languages, music, and world travel. His legacy remains in those who were influenced by these wonderful gifts he shared.
Jim is survived by his sister, Sharon Lawrence, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and her three children Dana, Eric, and Cheri Depenbrock.