Fr. Lawrence Kern was an exemplary priest and friend who had spent 51 years in the service of the Lord as His priest and was an active pastor till before his death. A great inspiration for all priests who wish to follow the Lord and follow His Great Commission. The faithful of St. Gabriel’s, Greeley, CO,The Diocese of Holy Trinity and Great Plains and the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite rejoices that we have gained our beloved Fr. Kern in heaven to remember us before the throne of Almighty God. The following is a tribute from his niece, Kathleen Tuttle to the loving memory of Fr. Kern, delivered by Gary Debus at the Requiem of Fr. Lawrence Kern
Although a very private person, Lawrence was a person of many interests. He was very shy until he put his collar on and then he found his niche in life. It was his aim to be a minister from the time he was a little boy. Many of his ancestors were in the clergy or teachers. He was both.
He attended school first at Cache La Poudre school in Laporte, then attended and graduated from Eaton High School. He went to the Colorado State College of Education in Greeley to become a High school English/History teacher and graduated in 1953. He taught school in Kansas and Wyoming for three years. Then entered the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley CA with the encouragement of Dorothy Waterbus of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Fort Collins.
He was ordained to the priesthood Dec. 21, 1960 by the Right Reverend Joseph S. Minnis, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. He first served his apprenticeship in Boulder CO where he expanded his cooking abilities and housekeeping. He did counseling at Haight-Ashbury. He was assigned to Clearfield Utah where he had several churches. This experience was valuable when he served in Leadville and had the Timberline Circuit through the mountains. Here he met Gary and Joanne.
Lawrence took time to stay with his mother and father in Fort Collins while she was in ill health. During that time, he filled in and helped with churches such as Estes Park, Fort Collins, Cheyenne, and others in the state of Colorado.
He later served in Ouray where he again made many friends. He was there during the time the parish hall was rebuild to match the 19th century church. He retired from the Episcopal Church and returned to Fort Collins.
He was invited by the Bishop of the Anglican Church to serve in his Diocese. Then Father Larry returned to Ouray to serve in the Anglican Diocese. He came back to Greeley when this church was meeting in another facility. It was decided to buy this historic house and use it as St. Gabriel’s. Father served here until his death.
He was well known for helping the homeless, having his own food pantry and giving out bus tokens for United Way. People came from distant places for baptisms and marriages. There were 100 baptisms in 2009 and 210 in 2010. He was still scheduled to do several baptisms and a wedding at the time of his hospitalization.
St. Gabriel’s and service to God were his purpose in life . He often said that, “God has a purpose for me being in this church on this corner. When he is done with his work with me on Earth, he will take me.”
Father Kern was interested in genealogy and archaeology, traveling extensively in the Southwest USA as well as Mexico with his friends. His interest in genealogy resulted in the editing of two books, Ouray County Cemeteries and Delores County Cemeteries.
In Ouray he joined the Masonic Order and served as Master of the Lodge there.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harrold and Ida Kern, sister Betty (Lois Elizabeth) Watson Alvarez and grand nephew, James Sharp. Survivors include his sister, Barbara Tuttle of Fort Collins; five nieces: Vera Selland (Terry) of Loveland, Rebecca (Argus) Markle of Arkansas, Mary Beth (Bill) Akers of Arkansas, Charlotte (James) McAllister of California and Kathleen Tuttle (Greg Golovanoff) of Idaho, and a step nephew, Greg Alvarez (Mary) of CA. Great nephews and nieces [: Diana Eliason, Mike Sharp, Gayle Sharp; Charles, Jeff, Dwight, Vince, Dana (Jenkins), Jason and Jeanette (Murchinson) Markle; Terri and Lance Akers; Mike and Kim Kinzer; Cassandra (Jeff) Slota, Teresa (Kevin) Roseman, Elizabeth Golovanoff; 36 great grand nieces and nephews (8 step);] and numerous great great grand nephews and nieces.
He loved animals and had special ones in his life, his childhood collie, Frisky Patches and his cat companion of 23 years, Babe. His human friends were numerous. Of his best friends who have gone before him were, Martle Mischke, the Bruces, Fr. Bacon, and others. Some of his long time friends were David Houtz, Chita Labsack, Gary and Joanne Debus, and nephew of Martle Mischke, Paul Lewis.
We want to thank his friends and relatives who have been very helpful over the years and during his illness, especially Gary and Joanne and Teresa and Kevin Roseman. A very special thank you to the Bishop Leo and his wife and to Retired Bishop McNealy and his wife. Thank you to all who came today to celebrate the life and memory of Father Lawrence Kern.