Cover photo for Harry Lawroski's Obituary
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1928 Harry 2023

Harry Lawroski

October 10, 1928 — January 26, 2023



Harry Lawroski went home to be with his beloved Mary Ann on January 28, 2023--- Born October 10, 1928, Harry was the fifth and youngest son of Alexander and Nancy Lawroski. He grew up in Waverly, PA. Says Harry: “It’s great growing up on a farm. You work hard, you play hard, and you can enjoy the freedom of your own efforts.” Having decided while still in high school upon a career in chemical engineering – that field, says Harry, “probably has the most diversified background in engineering. You get chemistry, physical chemistry, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, electrical engineering, as well as chemical engineering.” After a freshman year at East Stroudsburg State Teachers College, he matriculated to Penn State University. Despite the rigorous course of study, Harry found time for extra curricular activities, most notably playing on the school soccer team. The Penn State team played the University of San Francisco to a 2-2 tie in the 1949-50 national college championship game. Harry commented “We wanted to play on, but they didn’t.”


Harry received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1950 followed by his M.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1956, finishing with his PhD in Chemical Engineering in early 1959.  After graduation from Penn State University, he followed his brother, Steve, into the nuclear power industry working with the Argonne National Laboratory, which brought him to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he was to spend the next 15 years. His work at INL included assignments beginning at the critical ZPR-III facility, the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), then safety experiments at EBR II, ultimately becoming superintendent and associate director of EBR-II. By June 1973, Harry was ready to try something new, so he left Argonne and joined Nuclear Services Corporation in Campbell, CA. While he enjoyed the work, but missed the Idaho Falls locale. When offered a position at Allied Chemical supervising Idaho operations, he jumped at it. The taste for consulting was a strong one, so in 1979, Harry founded his own company with assignments from the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center, for General Public Utilities, and Electric Power Research Institute. Harry was a past president of the American Nuclear Society (1979-1980).


Harry met Mary Ann DeWoody in 1957 at a Penn State University “stag and drag” dance when both where in graduate school. They went their separate ways for a time, with Harry in Idaho while Mary Ann taught at Penn State, the University of Minnesota, and LSU. It was 1962 before Harry could “drag” Mary Ann to Idaho. Comments Mary Ann: “I had to wait and see if he was going to be successful.” They were married October 6, 1962. “It was,” Harry notes, “economically necessary. My telephone bill was outrageous.”


With Harry’s work at INL and Mary Ann’s work as the director of the Extension Services of the University of Idaho, they made many friends throughout Idaho and across the country. Recreation (skiing, golf & fishing) brought Harry and Mary Ann to Jackson Hole eventually buying their retirement home, where Harry perfected his golf game chipping and putting around the yard. Though retired, Harry and Mary Ann were not idle as they gave generously of their time to the St. John’s Health Auxiliary and Foundation, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Rotary Club International and Pioneer Homestead Apartments. While a director of Pioneer Homestead Apartments, Harry was instrumental in the construction of two buildings of 25 units each. Harry’s latest endeavor was the establishment, in 2018, of the University of Wyoming Teton STEM Academy for Wyoming residents in the 8th through 11th grades, which has been a tremendous success.  Harry was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ann (June 10, 2022), and his four brothers, Stephen, John, Bill and George. A memorial service is planned for the spring of 2023. In lieu of flowers, Harry would appreciate your consideration of a donation to the UW Teton STEM Academy, Friends of Pioneer Homestead, St. John’s Health Foundation, or the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

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