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Touching Tribute to Jim Lawrenz

 Several hundred people assembled at NorthBay Healthcare’s Green Valley Administration Center on July 31 to honor the life of Jim Lawrenz, president of the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation board of directors. Jim passed away on July 9, 2013 following a long battle with cancer.

 

The memorial service opened with a moving bagpipes rendition of “Amazing Grace.” An Honor Guard from Travis Air Force Base fired a three-gun volley salute, played “Taps,” and presented a folded American flag to Jim’s wife, Heidi Campini.  


Pastor Todd Bertani from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairfield presided over the service that also included eulogies from four of Jim’s closest friends. Gary Yates, a childhood friend from Tomah, Wis., recalled sharing a happy childhood with Jim, where Saturday afternoons were spent watching cartoons and Westerns at the local theater, and playing games of golf that Jim always seemed to win. “He was a great friend and neighbor.”

Others, who befriended Jim during his years with the Air Force or as a pilot for World Airways or United Parcel Service, recalled an even-keeled man who was quick-witted, a “maestro of one-liners,” honest, quiet and yet humble, but who always found a way to give back and to try to make a difference.


heidi2Wayne Senalik, vice chairman for the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors, introduced a short video tribute that included portions of Jim’s recent speech at NorthBay’s Cancer Survivor Day celebration. “After he spoke at that celebration, two women came up to him and said his speech had made a difference in their lives,” recalled Bob Olson, a fellow airline captain. “That meant a lot to Jim, hearing that. He has made a difference in all our lives.”
Pastor Bertani told the audience that just that morning, he was visiting a family with a newborn in NorthBay Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.


“And it hit me -- the impact that he and the NorthBay Healtchare Foundation have made to make it all possible,” he said. “He made a difference.”


The service concluded with “God Bless America,” sung a cappella by Colleen Knight, NorthBay Healthcare Foundation executive assistant.


Both Jim and Heidi have been well-known within the Fairfield and Vacaville communities for their commitment to several philanthropic endeavors, and especially for their support of NorthBay Healthcare.


“Jim and Heidi have been wonderful ambassadors for us for many, many years,” noted Gary Passama, president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare, in the video. “He was a man who didn’t like to call attention to himself. But, he was an effective and even-handed leader, and it was a pleasure to go to the board meetings when he was presiding. He will be missed.”