Lawrence began his long career with Southern Bell Telephone Company in 1953. It was there that he met Carol Jean Linscomb, a telephone operator, while picketing during a CWA strike. They married in 1956 and made their home in Crowley. They were the proud parents of four children, Lawrence Anthony "Larry" Spaetgens Jr. of Crowley married to Karen Badon Spaetgens, Darla Kay Spaetgens of Crowley, Sherry Spaetgens Zaunbrecher of Gueydan married to Hugh "Bear" Zaunbrecher, and Jana Spaetgens Zaunbrecher of Robert's Cove married to Jason Zaunbrecher. They were also the proud grandparents of five grandchildren, Lesley Anne Spaetgens, Jacob Matthew Spaetgens, Amelia Jean Zaunbrecher, Sydney Clare Zaunbrecher, and Jessica Cathrine Zaunbrecher.
Lawrence always loved sports and coached little league baseball at the Crowley Recreation Department for many years. What started out as a reason to spend time with his young son soon turned into a passion. Lawrence had a special affection for all of his Little Millers and is still fondly remembered as "Coach" by so many who had the privilege of being on his teams. He has carried on the tradition with his granddaughter Sydney by sponsoring her local team in Gueydan. He was also a devout LSU Tiger fan.
Lawrence retired from "Ma Bell" on December 31, 1983, and began Spaetgens Telephone Service on January 1, 1984. He quickly became an icon in the city of Crowley. He was well respected not only for his extensive knowledge in his chosen profession, but also for his warm, friendly personality. He was quick with a smile and a warm handshake. He was a perfectionist who took great pride in his work. He had no plans to retire and often said he had the best job in town. Whether a prince or a pauper, Lawrence treated everyone he met with respect and kindness. He was dearly loved and will be dearly missed by his many friends in Crowley.
Lawrence, an intensely patriotic American, had the honor of being among the first United States veterans to participate in the Honor Air program, established to give all veterans an opportunity to visit the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. This trip, that he was able to make with two of his brothers Charlie and Leo, was among the biggest honors of his life. Lawrence's family would like to thank Lafayette radio announcer T. D. Smith for making that trip possible for him.
Lawrence also had the honor of meeting Governor Bobby Jindal. The Governor presented Lawrence with a medal in appreciation for his service to his country.
Lawrence passed away peacefully at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital on April 20, 2010, surrounded by family. Besides his children and grandchildren, Lawrence is also survived by five siblings, Anna Marie Spaetgens Broussard of Lafayette, William Leo Spaetgens of Robert's Cove, Anthony Leonard Spaetgens of Rayne, Charles Joseph Spaetgens of Robert's Cove, and Mary Allie Agnes Spaetgens Caillier of Rayne.
Lawrence was preceded in death by his beloved wife Carol after 51 happy years of marriage. For the last 14 years of her life, he was her devoted and tireless caretaker. He was also preceded in death by his parents and his brother Henry Joseph Spaetgens Sr.
The family would like to thank Dr. Karen Smith and Hospice of Acadiana.
Duhon Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Visitation will be Thursday, April 22, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until time of service. Fr. Gary Schexnider will officiate a mass of Christian burial Friday, April 23, at 10 a.m., at St. Michael Catholic Church where Lawrence and Carol married 54 years ago. Lawrence's friends from the Judice VFW Post 9822 will honor him with a military burial at St. Leo Cemetery in Robert's Cove only a few miles from where he was born. Pall bearers are his son Larry, his grandson Jacob, his sons-in-law Hugh and Jason, his godson Jackie Spaetgens, and his brother-in-law Gerald Braquet. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Michael Elementary School in Crowley or St. Peter Elementary School in Gueydan.
Lawrence will be sorely missed by his family and friends.