UPDATE: No Funeral, Memorial Service Information for Murdered McLean Doctor

McLean Doctor Killed by Patient Friday

UPDATE: Aug 1. You can find memorial service and obituary information at http://patch.com/A-kDWJ.

Wednesday July 27: More than a dozen friends of Dr. Mark Lawrence have inquired about funeral or memorial service information for the McLean doctor who was shot and killed by a patient Friday.

Janet Hyman, who knew Dr. Lawrence shared this note: I did hear yesterday that the family plans to have a private burial, and then will hold a public memorial service in 2-3 months when they are more ready to handle it. I hope they know how very many people are thinking of them in their time of grief and sending thoughts of comfort their way.

McLean Patch has left messages with the family. We have also made other inquiries to no avail.

We would also like to write an obituary for our neighbor. If have biographical information about Dr. Lawrence --- where he was born, how long he has lived in this area, great stories, please let us know.

We will continue to try and find this information so we can share with the neighbors.

Tuesday July 26: Fairfax County Police are continuing their investigation into the death of a McLean psychiatrist as friends remembered him as a wonderful, warm and creative teacher, mentor and colleague.

Fairfax police reported that they found Dr. Mark Lawrence, 71, and his patient Barbara Newman, 62, of Farmside Place, Vienna, dead in the doctor's Tebbs Lane home where he saw patients.
Both died of gunshot wounds Friday afternoon, police said.

Detectives determined that Newman shot the doctor with a handgun, then herself, police said.

The home is located  on a narrow lane just off of Georgetown Pike, north of Madeira School. About a dozen homes are located on Tebbs Lane. The homes are built on heavily wooded lots and are far apart from each other.

A large gate that was chained shut blocked the lane leading to the Lawrence home which sits on five acres and about three other homes.

Barbara Newman stopped to say hello to one of her neighbors around 3:30 p.m. Friday outside the Farmside Place house she had lived in for more than a decade, this time asking if he would mind helping her replace some smoke detector batteries the next day. Less than an hour later, police said she had shot and killed Dr. Lawrence and herself. Click to read a profile of Newman.

"Mark was the kindest, gentlest, most caring human being I have known and it is hard to believe he was killed," said Janet Hyman of Reston, a licensed clinical social worker.

Dr. Lawrence was her supervisor and teacher as she trained to become a licensed therapist, she said. "His ideas and spirit lives on in those of us who had the good fortune to have crossed his path."

In class one day, "We were discussing the treatment of specific phobias and I volunteered for the experiential part. At the age of 9 I had a frightening experience when my brother's tropical fish began jumping out of the aquarium. Everyone became hysterical as they were flopping on the carpet.. .

 "I was left with an intense phobic reaction whenever I saw a fish out of water, including those on ice to be served in restaurants. .   Mark’s approach combined deep relaxation techniques with imagining being in a store where I might walk past the fish counter.  His kindness and patience were evident in the care he took to ascertain that I stayed as relaxed as possible.  Finally, in the image, I was able to stand at the fish counter and make a purchase.

On my next trip to the supermarket I was able to move throughout the store without concern about the fish. To my amazement this has continued for over 20 years," she said.

Dr. Lawrence retired in 2003, she said. He had an office on Whittier Street in downtown McLean but only spent about a third of his time there. Neighbors reported that his wife was partially incapacitated apparently, the result of a stroke a few years ago.

Susan Lindsay, of Reston, a minister who did pastoral counseling, said she often consulted about patients with Dr. Lawrence because they had a similar practice - helping people who came in distress needing some help with their lives. People who had a trauma history.

"He was a wonderful one," she said. "Very warm. Very perspective. Emotionally present. He brought more than just intellectual . . he was an advocate," for his patients she said.

‘He was very, very gifted warm presence. There was always a sense that he was a support. He was an extremely compassionate person. “

Pamela Billy Light, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, who lives in Reston took classes from Dr. Lawrence for 10 to 12 years, she said.

 “He was just a kind gentle loving teacher and man," she said. "So sincere and so warm. He felt so accepting. A wonderful teacher. He made you feel like you knew what you were doing. Extremely nurturing man,” she said.

 Dr. Lawrence was a graduate of Harvard University. He and his wife Karen were parents of a daughter. They purchased in the Tebbs Lane home in 1970.

"What a tragedy," Light said. "Such a wonderful, gifted, loving soul and we’re all going to miss him so much.”

Correction: In an earlier edition we incorrectly reporter the date of the purchase of the home. We apologize to our readers.

Heather Maier July 26, 2011 at 06:47 PM
I am so sad to hear about all of this. o just never know what kind of pain and distress seemingly ordinary people might be carrying around with them.
Janet L. Hyman July 27, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Thank you for helping us process this tragedy. May his family find comfort in knowing that a great many people remember Mark and appreciate all he offered to so many.
Graham Brent July 28, 2011 at 01:37 AM
I knew Dr, Lawrence for less than two years. It's not too much to say that in that short time he changed my life. He had such a sense of peace and calm about him I instantly became more relaxed in his presence. His insight was just dazzling. What a sad and tragic loss. I pray for his family as they grieve during this awful time.
Rachel Scott October 03, 2012 at 03:57 AM
I knew Dr. Lawrence for more than 30 years, first as a patient, and after I graduated from medical school, as a mentor and a friend. He profoundly changed my life. I have never known anyone who I admired more for his kindness, compassion, and dedication to fostering and advocating for the well-being and happiness of others. I grieve for the many more years of life that should have been his to enjoy, for the loss to his wife, his daughter, and to all who knew him, and will miss him, and his brilliant insight, and remarkable sense of humor. He was an incomparable force for good. Rachel Scott, MD


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