World Bank Group

Lawrence A. Pezzullo, career diplomat who later became the first layman to head Catholic Relief Services

Lawrence A. Pezzullo, career diplomat who later became the first layman to head Catholic Relief Services

Lawrence A. Pezzullo, a career diplomat who later became the first layman to serve as executive director of Catholic Relief Services, died July 26 of heart failure at his Pikesville home.

He was 91.

“He was a very kind person but could be a slave driver. He could drive you hard, but it was worth it,” said Mwangi Wachira, who was director of policy and planning at CRS from 1989 to 1992. “He was a man who was driven by his work and a really good human being.”

Donna McMahon, a senior adviser who works in CRS’ global knowledge & information management section, joined the relief agency in 1985.

“I’m from Brooklyn, and Larry was from the Bronx, which gave him a...

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