Beloved matriarch Mary Elizabeth Lester Lawrence passed from mortality unto eternal life on Monday morning, June 22, 2020. Born August 24, 1925, she was 94.
She was preceded in death by her parents, William Thomas and Mary Etta Turner Lester; her youngest son, Lester Wayne; her chosen companion, Herbert Franklin; two grandchildren, Patience and Trinity; and three great-grandchildren, Christine, Emelei, and Ailani.
Her mother died of tuberculosis during the Great Depression. She was raised as the only child of a kind and gentle father and was taught and influenced by a wonderful Nanny, Sarah B. Johnson Scales, from the tender age of 9, until she eloped to marry at 18 in 1943.
She is survived by five children, Dub, Dan, Thom, Fay, and Ann; thirty-nine grandchildren; one-hundred twenty-five great-grandchildren; and twenty-two great-great-grandchildren.
Her legacy includes scores of college graduates, military officers and enlisted men and women, workers and business professionals, first responders, medical care givers, church missionaries, public servants, and qualified leaders, who have traveled, prospered, and influenced for good across the earth.
She was always present to hold, love, and encourage with faith, hope, and charity every family member, friend, stranger, or neighbor with warm meals, good counsel, and loving embraces, as a near perfect emulation of the love of Christ and devotion to the two “greatest commandments” to love God and all of mankind more than self.
She endured suffering and heartbreak vicariously through the pains, trials, and heartaches of those she loved. She sacrificed her personal desires to comfort and care for others who were infirmed, abused, handicapped, mentally ill, guilt ridden, or deprived.
Indeed, Mary Elizabeth Lester Lawrence lived a life of experiences, in the pursuit of happiness that rendered her totally prepared to stand before her Father and Brother in Heaven to hear the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have fought a good fight and have kept the faith.”
Her words of counsel to those of us who remain, as exemplified by her life, is that God loves the world, all of His creations, and He loves each of us, perhaps even more than she loved her children and their offspring.
If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, she would admonish us to seek after these things. Rest in peace, you wonderful, beloved angel mother.
Due to circumstances that require caution and consideration of the wellbeing of others, there will not be a formal funeral service, nor a wake or gathering for good home cooking with hugs and greetings or socializing, as has always been a family custom.
Instead, there will be a graveside memorial, in a conducted service, at the Indian Grove Family Cemetery, located a couple of miles down the road from her home, on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 12:00 noon, to be directed by LDS Bishop John Bradley and Moody Funeral Services, where, weather permitting, friends and family members may gather outside to share precious thoughts and memories.
She will be laid to rest between her eternal husband, Herbert, and youngest son, Wayne, who both will have already warmly greeted her and will likely be present to watch the proceedings from above.
Protective masks and a sanitizing agent will be provided for anyone attending who may not have their own safety supplies upon arrival.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, 401 Technology Lane, Suite 200, Mount Airy, NC 27030.