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Paul Doerner, Cofounder of Lawrence Group, Dies

by Rebecca DeZeeuw

Paul Doerner, Architect and cofounder of Lawrence Group, passed away October 6, 2022. He was 66.

Doerner was one of three University of Kansas design school graduates who started Lawrence Group in 1983. After beginning his career working for several design practices, Doerner invited his friends and classmates – Steve Smith and David Ohlemeyer – to start their own practice with the shared vision of becoming a design super firm. They named the firm Lawrence Group, after Lawrence, Kansas, the home of their alma mater.

“In the early years of Lawrence Group, we were primarily a residential firm,” said Steve Smith, cofounder of Lawrence Group. “It was Paul’s work that established our early reputation for quality and laid the foundation for all the success the firm has had over the years.”

Shortly after starting Lawrence Group, Doerner invited his colleague and friend, Linda Loewenstein, to join the new firm.

“I am blessed beyond words to have Paul in my life for 40 years. I will certainly miss his unique perspective on life, his sharp wit, his endless creativity, but most of all, I will miss his empathy and compassion for people. His impact on me and Lawrence Group is immeasurable,” said Linda Loewenstein, cofounder of Lawrence Group.

After nearly 40 years, Doerner retired from Lawrence Group in 2019. He continued to practice, pursuing his personal passion for single family residential architecture as a design consultant and the author of “Homework,” a residential design advice column in Town and Style Magazine.

Doerner was an incredible Architect whose impact reached many both nationally and locally.

“He was perhaps the most knowledgeable Architect I ever knew regarding the history and legacy of residential architecture,” said Smith.

Doerner shared that knowledge and was a generous resource for anyone seeking help with design. He was passionate about his clients, the culture of Lawrence Group, and his friends and family. Most of all, he had the warmest heart for people.

“I was fortunate to have Paul in my life for nearly 50 years, first as a college classmate and mentor, then as a business partner, and through it all, as a best friend. I will miss him,” said David Ohlemeyer, cofounder of Lawrence Group.

A celebration of Paul Doerner’s life will be held at the Moto Museum (3408 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO 63103) on Sunday, October 23 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.