Ada Louise Lawrence "Ada Lou," age 93, of Erie, passed away on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at Sunrise Assisted Living. She was born to the late Earl E. Lawrence and Belle Clark Lawrence on October 21, 1920.
Ada attended Burns Elementary School, Gridley Junior High School and graduated from Strong Vincent High School, class of 1939. She attended Cheyney State Teachers College, where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She received her Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Gannon University. She also received an Exceptional Education Certificate from Penn State University
. She worked as a teacher for thirty-six years, until her retirement from the Erie Public Schools. Ada was the first African American teacher hired in the 1940s.
She was a member of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul, where she served in many church capacities, specifically the Altar Guild, having been baptized there at the age of six. She was also a member of the Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society.
Ada was one of the founding members of the Poisettes Bowling Club and the Hi-Lites Club. Her community involvement included helping the students she taught and the citizens within her neighborhood. She was one of the original Incorporators of the Bayfront NATO – Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, and a member of the Board of the Dr. Gertude Barber Center. She served many years with the Erie Chapter of the NAACP and the Harry T. Burleigh Society and on numerous other Boards and Commissions. She has been honored by the Erie City Council and many other organizations for her service and contributions to the Erie community. Last year, a street was named honoring her and her family, and designated as the Lawrence Family Way.
Family and friends were Ada's love and joy. She grew up spending time with all of her relatives and particularly enjoyed the visits of Harry T. Burleigh, a family friend, to her childhood home. She loved to travel with her friends on many trips to the Greek Isles and other foreign points of interests. Ada enjoyed playing her viola and listening to music and bowling with her many friends of the Poisettes Bowling Club. She was an avid and accomplished bowler, having won many trophies for her prowess. She enjoyed the company and companionship of her cats.
Her greatest joy was maintaining historical records of her family and sharing her vast knowledge of Erie history with all who would listen. Many books highlighting African American history in Erie used her vast personal knowledge and immaculately preserved archives to tell the story of Erie African Americans.
Ada is survived by cousins, Karen Louise Faciane (Gregory), Aurora, Colo.; Kevin Lawrence Gomez, Denver, Colo.; Terry Lucas (Pat Ray), Ogden, Utah; and a devoted friend Johnny Johnson. She also leaves behind many caring and long time friends.
Friends may call at the Burton Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., 602 West 10th Street, Tuesday, March 11th from 4-8 p.m., and are invited to attend services at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul on Wednesday, March 12th at 11 a.m. Burial will be at the Erie Cemetery. The family wishes to thank all of those who cared for Ada, especially the staff at Sunrise Assisted Living and the Asera Care Hospice team.
The family graciously requests that memorials may be made to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 302 Chestnut Street, Erie, PA 16507, the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul, 134 West 7th Street, Erie, PA 16501, or the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center, 136 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16507. Send condolences at www.Burton funeralhome.com
Burton Funeral Homes - Downtown Erie
602 West 10th Street Erie, PA 16502
Published in the Erie Times-News on Mar. 11, 2014