Lawrence White

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LYNCHBURG, Va. - An honorable man, one of the 'Greatest Generation', Lawrence F. White, 93, formerly of Lynchburg, VA, died on May 1, 2012 at Emeritus at Deep Run in Richmond, VA. With his daughters at his bedside, Lawrence went home peacefully. Born to Bessie and Edgar White on January 26, 1919, Lawrence was the third of six children. Preceding him in death were his brothers Hildery, James, Clifton, and sisters, Evelyn and Eleanor. Lawrence grew up in Lynchburg during the Great Depression and, as was commonplace at the time, lived in several rented homes in the Lynchburg area - he remembered all of the addresses from his childhood: 408 Clay, 64 Federal, 1100 10th, and 44 and 120 Federal. He attended Biggers Elementary School and often told tales of youthful adventures with his friends Archie and Pete; especially, of the tricks they played on the nurses at the old Lynchburg General Hospital. Lawrence's youth was greatly influenced by Edith Cox. Miss Cox converted the back yard of her Federal Street residence into a clay tennis court, and then opened her home and her heart to Lawrence and his friends, teaching them to play tennis, how to string their rackets, and after their homework was completed, she taught them the game of Bridge. Lawrence's skill at tennis earned him a place on the tennis team at Lynchburg High School, where he graduated in 1937. Like other ambitious youngsters coming of age during the lean times of the Great Depression, Lawrence began earning spending money by collecting and redeeming bottles. His first 'real' job was at the Golden Rule Men's Store on Main Street - and lasted one day. Lawrence was not a salesman. He did, however, enjoy working at Patterson's Drug Store delivering medicines. While working for Patterson's, Lawrence met Hazel Lambert who, in his words, was the prettiest girl at the candy counter at Neisner's Five and Dime. They were married in 1939. A daughter, Rosa Ana, was born to the couple in 1941. The early days of World War II found Lawrence serving his Country as part of the massive construction effort for the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, which made munitions and materiel for American and European forces fighting the War. When Plant construction was complete, Lawrence continued to serve, working in the Plant's granary. In early 1944, Lawrence left Radford and enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served as an aircraft mechanic on the carrier USS Prince William. He was honorably discharged from military duty at War's end in August 1945. After the war, Lawrence, who as a teenager, had apprenticed in plumbing with his Father, began working for Moseley Brothers Plumbing and Heating Company as a plumber and steamfitter. He advanced his career by earning credentials as a Master Plumber, Master Electrician, and as a Journeyman Mechanical Engineer. Lawrence's wife Hazel died in 1949, and he carried on raising his young daughter, and furthering his career. In 1952, Lawrence met Doris Woodford, a dedicated registered nurse- working at the time at Lynchburg General Hospital. After Doris' shift at the hospital, Lawrence and Doris would enjoy sharing a hamburger at the Hollins Mill Drive-In and occasionally taking in a movie at the Academy Theater. Many dates later, they were married in November, 1953. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence and Doris realized their dream of home ownership when they bought their home at 951 Lindsay Street in Lynchburg. Their daughter Susan Estelle was born in 1955. Within his profession, Lawrence became known as a man of integrity and skill. These qualities contributed to his being named Plumbing Inspector for the City of Lynchburg in 1963. Lawrence served the City for over 20 years and, in collaboration with his good friend and co-worker, Electrical Inspector Joe Worsham, was instrumental in helping Lynchburg-area construction become consistently recognized for its quality workmanship. Lawrence and Doris' life together reflected a strong work ethic and care for those in need. These qualities contributed to daughters Rosa and Susan following their Mother into the field of Nursing. Rosa would go on to graduate as a registered nurse from the Johnston Willis School of Nursing, with Susan also graduating as a registered nurse from the Medical College of Virginia. Whenever the discussion involved nurses, Lawrence would always declare proudly that he had three of his own. Susan married Gary Wood in 1977. Susan and Gary are blessed with two sons who were the lights of Lawrence's life. Aaron Wood, of Lynchburg, and Ben Wood, of Richmond, grew up spending cherished time with Papa, enjoying his wit and learning from him how to construct toy swords and rifles all the while basking in his unconditional love for them both. The boys also developed an interest in cars from their grandfather. Lawrence told them stories from his high school years about driving an air flow Desoto for the Larkin sisters, and shared all the details about the Plymouths, the Chevrolets, and the one used Mercedes Benz he had owned over the years. He gave the boys a 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle-his all-time favorite automobile-when they started driving. Lawrence's wife Doris died in 1998 - he was comforted by his family during this difficult time. Lawrence later married his third wife, Ellen Smith, who survives him. Years after their marriage, as their health declined, Lawrence and Ellen moved to Richmond to be near Susan and Gary. They settled into the Emeritus Retirement Community, where Lawrence endeared himself to new friends and staff with his sense of humor, his disarming smile, and his love for his family. Lawrence will be greatly missed by his wife, family, and friends. His daughters, who held constant vigil by his bedside, were with him when he left this life. The family wishes to thank the kind, gentle staff at Emeritus at Deep Run, the Bon Secours Hospice team who enhanced Lawrence's final days with their wisdom, knowledge, and compassion, and the Reverend Bill Carter and his wife Mickie of Grove Avenue Baptist Church Faith Visitation Ministries, whose steadfast fellowship, prayer and encouragement helped strengthen Lawrence to finish, with abiding peace, the race set before him. Daughters Rosie White Messer of Augusta, Georgia, and Sue Wood of Richmond, will host visitation for family and friends on Wednesday, May 9th at Chestnut Hill Baptist Church in Lynchburg from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. A celebration of the life of Lawrence F. White will be held at Chestnut Hill Baptist Church on Thursday, May 10th at 12:00 Noon. He will be laid to rest in the Fort Hill Cemetery with Military Honors provided by The American Legion Post 16 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church Maintenance Fund, 5225 Fort Avenue, Lynchburg, VA, 24502, in memory of Lawrence White. Condolences may be made to diuguidfuneralservice.com Diuguid Funeral Service and Crematory, Waterlick Chapel, Lynchburg, VA. In charge of arrangements.
Published in The Augusta Chronicle from May 8 to May 10, 2012
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