Cover photo for James M. Lawrence M.D.'s Obituary
James M. Lawrence M.D. Profile Photo
1936 James 2023

James M. Lawrence M.D.

April 14, 1936 — July 20, 2023

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. James (Jim) Melton Lawrence, age 87, of Indianapolis died peacefully on July 20, 2023.

Born April 14, 1936, in El Dorado, AR, Jim was the eldest son of Victor and Irene Lawrence. He graduated from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) in 1957 with a B.S. in Medicine. Jim received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas (Little Rock) in 1961. It was also 1961 when he married his loving wife, Ruth (Johnson). Jim and Ruth spent one year in Tulsa, OK for internship training before moving to Oklahoma City, OK where Jim served as a Flight Surgeon for the United States Air Force at Tinker Air Force Base from 1962 – 1964. Jim completed his Ophthalmology Residency at Indiana University in 1967.

From 1967 – 1998, Jim enjoyed a fulfilling professional career as a Board Certified Ophthalmologist in Indianapolis. As a founding member of 20/20 Eye Physicians of Indiana, Jim had the privilege of treating children and adults with the belief that their lives could be enriched through the gift of sight. He was a compassionate surgeon and practitioner who cared deeply for each of his patients.

Jim was affiliated with St. Vincent Hospital throughout his career. During his tenure, he held many offices including President of the Medical Staff, member of the St. Vincent Foundation, member of the St. Vincent Advisory Board, and member of the St. Vincent Hospital Board of Directors. In 1997 Jim was recognized by his peers when he received the Distinguished Physician Award. He was deeply humbled to have been honored in such a way by members of the medical staff, many of whom he viewed not only as colleagues, but as close friends.

In addition to his service to St. Vincent Hospital, Jim served as President of the Indianapolis Ophthalmology Society and on the Board of Directors of the Marion County Medical Society. He was also a member of the American Medical Association, the American Society of Cataract Surgery, Scientech Club, and Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis. It is through the Church that Jim and his wife, Ruth, were able to serve on a medical mission trip to Xocenpich, Mexico.

Upon retirement in 1998, Jim completed courses to become certified as a Master Gardener. He graciously shared his knowledge with the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana to spearhead the ongoing maintenance of the Enabling and Healing Garden which serves as a welcome respite for patients and their loved ones.

Jim was most proud of his family. They brought joy to his life, and he would consider them to be his greatest accomplishment. He is survived by his wife of 62 years Ruth; daughter Johanna (Gery) Kissel; son David (Karen) Lawrence; six grandchildren Morgan Lawrence, Madison (Jacob) White, Halley and Corinne Kissel, Brooke and Kate Lawrence; and two great-grandchildren Elizabeth and James White. He was preceded in death by his parents Victor and Irene Lawrence, brother Donald Lawrence, and son James M. Lawrence, Jr.

The family wishes to thank the many caregivers at Hoosier Village and AseraCare Hospice for their kind and compassionate support.

Visitation with the family will begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 4th at Second Presbyterian Church at 7700 N. Meridian Street in Indianapolis. A celebration of life with military honors will begin at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary.

Memorial contributions may be made to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital Foundation or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James M. Lawrence M.D., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 4, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, August 4, 2023

11:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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