William Frank Laraway Jr.


William Frank Laraway Jr., born May 26, 1933, died March 22, 2019 after a brief illness.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Patricia G. Davis Laraway; children, Jacqueline, Kennedy and Kristen Acee Laraway; and grandchildren, Kate, Stephen and Anna Laraway. He is greatly missed by his loyal canine friend, Sandy. He thoroughly enjoyed relationships with his surviving nieces and nephew, Bobbie Urbanek Harris, Peggy Urbanek Dunnam, Steve Urbanek and Joan Panke.

Mr. Laraway was a native of Fairhope, Alabama, where he was born and raised on a small dairy and chicken farm, learned the arts of farming and carpentry from his father, William Frank Laraway Sr. and mother, Emilie K. Laraway; and was taught manners and grammar by his sisters, Margaret Laraway Urbanek and Emilie Grace Laraway Panke.

He attended the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education in Fairhope, Alabama for 14 years, graduating in 1951. He attended Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, completing studies in philosophy, mathematics and sciences to receive a BA in 1956.

He was an architectural apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright from 1958-1959, acquiring his degree in architecture at the University of Michigan in 1963. During his stay in Ann Arbor, Michigan for education, he worked with Dr.s Conn, Fajans, Louis and Floyd at the Endocrinology & Metabolism Research Laboratory for five years, which was one of the singular exceptional experiences of his life; and they remained lifelong friends.

He and Pat married in Ann Arbor at the Ann Arbor Unitarian Church in 1963 before moving back to Fairhope in 1965, shortly thereafter settling at his long-term home on Fish River in 1966-2019. He taught architecture at Auburn University for a period of time.

He is past secretary and president of the Baldwin County Historical Society. He shared a lifetime fascination with the history and accouterments of the American Civil War with many historical society friends throughout the years.

He spent many hours "boon-docking" through the woods of Baldwin County and the rest of Alabama in search of the original Mobile settlement at Mauvila and other Civil War sites and entrenchments built on Indian mounds throughout the state.

Through these pursuits, he became an avid kayaker and biker, traveling with the Sierra Club for many events around the country. He followed the trail of naturalist and artist, William Bartram with great interest, and planted many native plants described by Bartram in his travels on his property at Fish River.

He was also a longtime friend and supporter of the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Baldwin County, Alabama.

A memorial gathering will be held in celebration and honor of Mr. Laraway's life on May 26, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. at the Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship, located at 1150 Fairhope Ave., Fairhope, Alabama.

Family and friends are invited to bring pictures or written accounts of Mr. Laraway to leave with the family. This will be an informal gathering to reminisce, respect and share any items of interest regarding Frank's life.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers or cards, displays of respect and condolence be carried out in the form of charitable donations to Mr. Laraway's favorite organizations in memorium: The Sierra Club, Emily's List, The Marietta Johnson Museum, Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Fairhope Unitarian Fellowship and Baldwin County Historical Society.