Alan (Al) Laurence was born February 18, 1954, to Oral and Roberta Laurence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Al lived in the Rogue Valley most of his life and was called home on February 1, 2021, while living in Medford, Oregon.
Al had a very rich but physically challenging life. He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age 19. Three years later, on June 28, 1975, Al married the beautiful love of his life, Mary Pocernich. Several years later, the newlyweds moved to the Rogue Valley.
In 1987 Al and Mary’s first child, Caleb, was born, followed by Catherine in 1990 and Christina in 1995. Caleb lived at home and helped with Al’s care. Catherine eventually married Derek Starr and gave birth to Al’s granddaughter, Isla. Christina married Jonathan Fabich and settled in Grants Pass. Al was extremely proud of all his children and spoke of them often; and his granddaughter, Isla, was his joy.
In 1984, a few years before their first child was born, Al and Mary gave their lives to the Lord and began many faithful years of service together. Because of Al’s entrepreneurial spirit, he was able to spend a lot of time with the Lord while he worked. He started several successful businesses, including bee keeping, home remodeling, camera repair, and online sales, all the time deepening his faith. In 1988, Al became an associate pastor at Joy Christian Fellowship. On February 18, 1990, Al was ordained.
Al and Mary loved reaching out to people in the community, and they eventually began serving outside the walls of their church. They began ministering on the streets through Reach Out Ministry. In 1997, Al and Mary, along with Al’s sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Randall Dega, started a sandwich shop ministry called the Bridge. Then in 2001, Al returned to Joy Christian Fellowship where he earned his associate degree in Theology in 2002.
Al continued to serve the Lord and was a gifted teacher. Even after Al was physically confined to a wheelchair, he continued to give Bible studies in their home. Mary was his constant angel, caregiver, and prayer warrior. They shared a strong love and commitment to each other. Mary was the wife described in Proverbs 1:10-12: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Mary was Al’s miracle.
Mary remembers Al as a faithful husband, father and man of character with a love to teach the Word and see peoples’ lives changed through it. Caleb considered Al his best friend, remembering Al’s selflessness and how he did whatever was needed—regardless of his health issues—to ensure his children and Mary had a good life. Catherine remembers Al’s creative ambition and his innate ability to connect with people. Christina remembers Al’s selflessness, strength and positive outlook, no matter how many curveballs life threw at him. The rest of us will always remember Al’s sense of humor and endless repertoire of jokes.
Al will be missed, but his heavenly body has been made whole. He no longer needs a wheelchair, and we believe he is dancing around the throne of God.
A celebration of Al’s life will take place at 1:00 p.m. on June 19, 2021, at New Song Church, 4041 Crater Lake Avenue, Medford, OR.