John M. Lorentz of Shrewsbury died on July 12 at Rutland Regional Medical Center after a yearlong battle with cancer. His beloved family was by his side.
Born in New Jersey to Fred and Marie Lorentz, John grew up loving rock ’n’ roll. During his teens and 20s, he played saxophone and sang in a band that won a Cousin Brucie talent contest, opened for the Drifters, and rocked bars, clubs, and weddings throughout New Jersey.
He was proud of being in one of the first Beatles tribute bands the summer of 1964 at the Chatterbox Bar at the Jersey shore. He remained a rock aficionado his entire life, often quizzing listeners of Oldies with “what year?”
John Lorentz was valedictorian of his New Providence High School class and graduated summa cum laude from Dickinson College. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers Law School and a Ph.D. in political science in the field of public law from Rutgers University. As an adjunct professor, he taught at Drew University, Rutgers University, the College of St. Joseph, and Castleton State College.
Lorentz met Karen Louise Duch in 1963 and they married in 1968. She taught him to ski, and they moved to Vermont in 1978.
As a devoted husband, he supported her work as a freelance writer for 39 years, taking on additional family responsibilities to enable her to write. His research, writing, and editing skills were instrumental in the production of her first Killington book. He also edited four additional books, including a history of Okemo Mountain Resort and a guide to Vermont ski areas.
He was a loving and proud father of sons Jason, Jonathan and James. His work as an attorney enabled the family to live on a mountaintop, where they enjoyed cross-country skiing, tennis, and stacking endless cords of wood.
As an attorney, he focused on real estate closings for 35 years in the Killington region where he enjoyed helping people realize their dreams of home or vacation property ownership.
“We were green to Vermont, newlyweds and first-time home buyers. John made us feel safe and secure and helped make an exciting time in our lives fun and stress free,” recalled former clients Mike and Pauline Drayton.
Lorentz valued the attorneys, real estate agents, town clerks, and bankers he worked with, always seeking to solve a problem in a gentlemanly fashion. He felt that the toughest closings could be resolved through good communication and cooperation; clients and colleagues appreciated that attitude. He retired in 2013.
In his spare time, John could be found engaged in deep discussions of politics and law, snowplowing, brush cutting, exploring Cape Cod, and attending Jonathan’s jazz gigs or Karen’s ski writer functions. He adored his grandchildren.
He was involved in many community activities and served on several boards, including the Title Standards Committee of the Vermont Bar Association. He served as a trustee, chairman, or a committee member in the Shrewsbury Community Church for almost 40 years.
John Lorentz was preceded in death by his parents; sisters-in-law Sandra Lorentz and Mona Duch; father-in-law Robert J. Duch; and special colleagues Thaddeus Lorentz, Esq., and M.B. Neisner, Esq.
In addition to his wife Karen, he is survived by: Jason and wife Dayna of S. Burlington; Jonathan and Carmen of Belmont, N.H.; and James and Erin of Rutland; five grandchildren; brother Robert Lorentz; mother-in-law Ruth Duch; sisters-in-law Anita Duch, Roberta Ballou (Don), Carolyn Urgonski (Gary); brother-in-law Robert Duch; and several cousins, nieces, and nephews.
The family extends sincere gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff who cared for Lorentz at RRMC and the Foley Cancer Center. He was most appreciative of the visiting nurses and therapists of the Rutland VNA, especially Jamie and Jennie for nine months of extraordinary care.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Shrewsbury Community Church on Lottery Road in Center Shrewsbury. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org) or Foley Cancer Center (RRMC.org/ways-to-give).