Words of Remembrance
Brother Lawrence Hartung, FSC

Written by Brother Gerard Conforti, FSC

As I sat by his bed one day in the last week of his life, and once again as I stood by his grave at St. Gabriel’s Cemetery the day we had the burial ceremony, it struck me how quietly Larry slipped away from this world. A couple of months earlier we had had a lively, joyful conversation on a variety of topics. That was the Larry I knew so well.

Brother Lawrence Hartung was born in Joliet, Illinois, a small city south of Chicago. He assured me that he did not grow up in the country, but he certainly enjoyed summers with his cousins on their family’s farm and the summer at his Uncle Joe’s ranch in Colorado. After graduating from high school, Larry went to college for a degree in accounting and then practiced accounting for an airline. (Even in the 1960s he was aware of frequent flyer miles). The job was good and allowed him to travel, but he had a “calling” to do something more meaningful to him. At first, he visited monasteries to see if that life was a good fit, but he did not see it for himself. He knew that his cousin, Brother Kevin Fitzgerald, had joined the Christian Brothers, and so he went to the Chicago District Provincialate to talk about joining the order. He made it clear to the vocation director that he was interested in working with “delinquents”. Since the Chicago District had no works of that sort, he was directed to the New York District to pursue his interest. Larry went to the novitiate at Skaneateles in 1975.

Larry had a number of assignments in which he worked with “children in need of supervision” as the terminology went. He went to school for his Social Work degree and put it to good use. His first assignment was Lincoln Hall, which he enjoyed very much. Unfortunately, the Brothers left that ministry within a few years of his arrival. That did not deter Larry. He continued doing social work of various sorts at LaSalle School (Albany), St. John Bosco School (Mandeville, Jamaica W.I.), Boys Hope (Staten Island), Tides Family Services (West Warwick, R.I.), Mercy Home for Boys and Girls (Chicago) and Migrant Ministry (Keyport, NJ).

In between his social work assignments, Larry managed to slip in other types of work. Besides stints at LaSalle Academy (New York City) and Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, NJ), where he put his accounting skills to work for a time, he found other interesting work. In Puerto Alegre, Brazil, he taught English to the postulants and shared their daily schedule. He became the administrator at LaSalle Manor (Scarborough, Ontario), where he oversaw the operation of the retirement residence of the Toronto Brothers. He was on the staff of Sangre de Cristo Retreat Center (Santa Fe, NM), overseeing the property after the retreat center was closed. He also sat on the Board of Trustees of Christian Brothers Services for a time.

Larry was particularly fond of his family. He would visit his sister Mary and her husband John at Thanksgiving in Wisconsin. The Christmas season meant a trip to Buffalo, NY where his cousin Judy lived. There would be a gathering of the Fitzgeralds (the same cousins whose farm he would go to in his summers as a youth). Larry would join Brother Kevin (Gerry), Pat, Judy and Colleen as well Judy’s children Kate and Terry to celebrate the holy day with all the trimmings. There were other occasions through the years when he was able to visit his family and vice versa. Of course they also kept in touch regularly by phone and letters.

Larry took great pleasure in travelling and seeing new places. His various assignments afforded him that opportunity, and so did his vacation time. He looked forward to camping trips, cross-country railroad trips and car trips. The more miles he covered the better, and there were always stories about people and places along the way. He and I had great fun exploring, whether on vacation or on day trips (Columbus weekend in Vermont, New Jersey winery tours, San Francisco and environs, etc.). We always stopped to enjoy a meal at a restaurant wherever we ventured.

One time visiting him in Chicago, Larry suggested a drive. We meandered west, stopped at the Ulysses S. Grant house in Galena, Illinois, and eventually found ourselves at a bridge that crossed the Mississippi River. We crossed the bridge into Iowa, turned around and returned to Chicago. It was my one and only experience of the Mississippi and Iowa. On the way back we were reminded that we were deep into rural America. Besides the usual corn and cows, we came across a roadside billboard advertising a treatment for “fecal fingers”, for those working with farm animals. We laughed all the way home and afterwards. Such were the small ways that travelling with Larry held curious surprises.

Larry was good friends with a number of Brothers. They included Michael Finnegan, Timothy Murphy, Raymond Meagher and Vincent Reese with whom he worked and lived in community at Lincoln Hall and LaSalle School. One of the yearly events that Larry made sure to attend was the Lenten retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey, the Trappist monastery in Spencer, MA, with Mike and Tim. He was drawn to the monastic life, if only in small doses.

Larry had a restless spirit and he lived life on his own terms, with some notable exceptions. Later in life, limitations imposed by outside forces, such as health problems, lack of mobility and decisions made by religious superiors were frustrating to him. On the other hand, he was gregarious and, despite his orneriness sometimes, we enjoyed his company. When I visited Larry at DeLaSalle Hall, I noticed how the staff took good care of him and his needs. They genuinely liked him, even though he could be demanding at times.

And so we celebrate the life of Brother Lawrence Hartung. His path was not the one most Brothers follow, but it was certainly an interesting, adventurous one. I’m sure Larry is having an ongoing dialogue with St. Peter, discussing how heaven could be improved. And just think of the travel opportunities he has now!

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Brother Lawrence Hartung, FSC

1942 – 2021

Born Lawrence John Hartung, Jr. in Joliet IL on 8 January 1942
Received the Religious Habit on 5 July 1975
Entered the Skaneateles NY Novitiate on 1 September 1975
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in the Fall of 1984
Died at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft NJ on 7 August 2021


Friday, 13 August 2021

Graveside Prayer Service & Interment – 11.00am
Saint Gabriel’s Cemetery
549 County Road 520 (Newman Springs Road)
Marlboro NJ 07746

Memorial Service at De La Salle – TBD

Brother Lawrence died peacefully on Saturday evening after a brief respite in hospice care.

The District of Eastern North America remembers Brother Lawrence with memorial liturgies according to the tradition of the Institute. Through their prayers, communities and individuals entrust Brother Lawrence to God’s loving care.

May he rest in peace.


Lincolndale NY
Lincoln Hall (studies: 1980-81)

New York NY
La Salle Academy

Albany NY
La Salle School

Jamaica West Indies
Saint John Bosco Residential School

New York NY
La Salle Academy

Staten Island NY
Boy’s Hope

New York NY
La Salle Academy

Lincroft NJ
Christian Brothers Academy

Santa Fe NM
Sangre de Cristo (renewal: 2nd semester)

West Warwick RI
Tides Family Services

Chicago IL
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Albany NY
La Salle School

Porto Alegre Brazil
Province/District Administration

Albany NY
La Salle School

Scarborough ON
La Salle Manor

Lincroft NJ
New York District Administration (finances)

Keyport NJ
Migrant Ministry

Lincroft NJ
Christian Brothers Academy (resident)

Santa Fe NM
Sangre de Cristo (staff)

Lincroft NJ
Christian Brothers Academy (resident)

Lincroft NJ
De La Salle Hall (resident)