A MUCH-LOVED Marlow resident passed away last week, just a day after celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary.
Alexander Lawrence, 93, of Claremont Road, died in hospital on February 26 after he and his wife Esther received a letter from the Queen to mark their platinum occasion.
Originally from Ukraine, Mr Lawrence became a Marlow resident more than 40 years ago and was heavily involved in the Marlow Rotary Club and the British Legion.
A World War II RAF veteran, he was the last surviving member of his war-time Squadron 612.
His son Clive said: "He was so gregarious, he loved helping charities. He will be missed my many. I miss him already.
"He died peacefully after a short illness with his sons, their wives and a granddaughter by his bedside.
"He had the best medical treatment and we are extremely grateful to Dr Stott and her colleagues at High Wycombe intensive therapy unit for their care."
Born in Kiev, he moved to the UK aged 17 aspiring to become an apprentice tea taster but his hopes were thwarted by the outbreak of World War II.
After joining the RAF, he became a pilot in Coastal Command and flew planes over the Atlantic Ocean to spy submarines.
He changed his name from Lewensztajn after settling in the UK.
Mr Lawrence met his wife Esther during the war, when she was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.
His son Clive said they met at a dance where his father managed to tread on her feet, which made a lasting impression on her, with the couple falling in love over a curry.
After the war, Mr Lawrence emigrated to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), where he became a Government official for 15 years.
When he eventually moved back to the UK, the well-travelled Ukranian moved to Marlow, where he stayed and became a lecturer in law at Wycombe Technical Institute (now Buckinghamshire New University).
He was a keen Rotarian, an associate of Maidenhead Synagogue and supported charities such as the Third World Appeal.
A Liberal Democrat member, Mr Lawrence and his wife used to open their house up as a central party hub during local and general elections.
And the adopted Marlovian was also a regular fixture at the Marlow branch of the Royal British Legion.
In November 2013 Mr Lawrence laid a wreath in Marlow at the Remembrance Service.
Branch chairman Shaun Murphy said: "He was just full of life, and considering his age he was the life and soul of the party really.
"He was always full of stories and a distinguished veteran, and we’ll all miss him terribly."
Mr Lawrence, who died after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, is survived by his wife Esther, sons Jon and Clive, six grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
His funeral will take place on Monday at 1.45pm at Chilterns Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham.
The family have also invited guests to Court Garden House, Pound Lane, Marlow at 3.30pm.
His sons have requested no flowers but donations are welcome to any of the organisations that their father was involved with, including Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen Families Association and Rotary International.