Dr. Lawrence Pasternack (Hebrew name: Yisroel Noam Ben Yitzchak) 56, of Edmond Oklahoma, passed away unexpectedly on January 30, 2024. He was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada to Zelda and Erwin Pasternack.
Lawrence is survived by his loving wife of 18 years, Robyn Pasternack, step-daughter, Haley Connors, mother Zelda Pasternack of Ontario Canada, and brother, Howard Pasternack of Ontario Canada. He was always in contact with his mother and brother, frequently talking while enjoying some time playing outdoors with his loving dog Lily. He had a very special bond with his brother, sharing a wonderfully dry sense of humor and a love of science fiction.
Lawrence grew up in Toronto and entered York University initially for Creative Writing but soon changed to a new interest in Philosophy. He graduated with a B.A., cum laude, and then attended Yale University’s Divinity School where he was awarded a full scholarship, and received an M.A. in Philosophy & Religious Studies, cum laude.
Following his interest in the field of Philosophy, Lawrence was additionally awarded a full scholarship to Boston University, and attained his PhD in Philosophy & Religious Studies, graduating cum laude, focusing on Immanuel Kant.
In 1998 Lawrence accepted a position at Oklahoma State University as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and eventually received the status of Full Professor. In 2019 he became the Director of Religious Studies and developed a unique and broad program that was very meaningful to him. He made lifelong friendships, spending much of the first years running off to Vegas to gamble with his best friend, Scott Gelfand, and generously helped students throughout his time at OSU.
He met his wife in 2004 and they married shortly after in 2005, settling in Edmond Oklahoma. She introduced him to his next love, Lola, a black lab puppy, and he was forever changed. His love of dogs continued as he frequently donated to the Humane Society, and dreamed of one day breeding Goldendoodles so that he would always be surrounded by puppies. It was common for his wife to find him watching endless videos on TikTok of doodle puppies.
He achieved citizenship in the United States in 2011, frequently quizzing his wife on the test that she continually failed, and maintained dual citizenship as a Canadian and American citizen. He and his wife had their wedding ceremony in Canada and enjoyed traveling there as often as possible to spend time with his family and lifelong childhood friends.
Lawrence was intensely focused on the writings of Immanuel Kant. By late 2010, after publishing dozens of papers for top journals, he had established himself as one of the world’s leading scholars on Kant’s Religion. As of his passing he was highly regarded and considered a prominent English-Language scholar in this area. More importantly, he made deep friendships with other philosophy professors throughout the world that brought him engaging conversation and so much joy.
In recent years, Lawrence found a new passion as an advocate for pain management care, and helped write bills and plebiscites for decriminalization of compassionate medical marijuana and new regulations for hospice care. He was always willing to serve, present lectures, and help with writing language for the Oklahoma legislatures. He made deep and everlasting impressions in these endeavors, gaining valuable friendships that he cherished, most significantly with Chris Moe and Norma Sapp.
Lawrence Pasternack will always be loved and remembered for his willingness to help others, his brilliant intellect, and his fun and frequently silly sense of humor.
A Graveside Service will be held at 10:00 am, Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Temple B'nai Israel Cemetery 13343 N. Kelley Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73131. A Memorial Service will follow at 11:00 am, Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Temple B'nai Israel 4901 N. Pennsylvania Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112. In lieu of flowers memorial donation can be made to the OK Humane Society https://okhumane.org/donate/