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Mary Lawrence Allen

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Mary Lawrence Allen Obituary

Mary Lawrence Allen

Memphis, TN



Mary Lawrence Allen, 84, passed into glory surrounded by her loving family on January 28, 2017. Born in Lookout Mountain, TN, she would spend a happy childhood with devoted parents and sister in Webster Groves, MO. Life took a left turn with the loss of her mother to cancer when she was a young girl. Little did she know just how significant that "C" word would be in her life and family for seven more decades. Her father did his best to provide for Mary Lawrence and would even braid her hair for her when necessary. Her father had attended Vanderbilt and encouraged her to follow in his footsteps. She would pledge Pi Beta Phi and eventually catch the eye of a certain football player R.C Allen from Blytheville, AR. She became a cheerleader, homecoming queen, and Miss Vanderbilt. She and her beau were known as R.C and "Moon Pie". She would marry R.C and move to Hawaii and a life in the Marine Corps.
Spending their salad days in Hawaii was a life of peacetime drills, sharing a car with friends, and enjoying the islands. R.C. called it a "two-year government issued honeymoon." They moved back to Memphis with their first son in tow and a job offer from Gaylord Container Company. (R.C. would build his own company Allen-Stone Boxes' with Mary Lawrence's support for over thirty years). Three more sons would be added to the family and then life would take a turn with a cancer diagnosis at the age of 30. She prayed that should God allow her to survive this illness- she would devote her years serving Him. To this calling she would be found faithful. Six additional primary cancer diagnoses would confront Mary Lawrence over the next 54 years.
Mary Lawrence was ever orthodox in her faith but promiscuous with her time and money as doors for ministry and charity continued to open. Her sons would remark that the secret to her success was "keeping her dance card full". She was a life long member of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis. Her initial ministry start was teaching a 4th grade Sunday school class. She started the church library (Growing Place) with a card table and some donated books. Her involvement in the Women of the Church, circle and prayer groups were a source of blessing and lifelong friendships. In later years, she would form a grief group for new widows (including herself) for encouragement and a safe place to share their issues over a wonderful meal.
She became a ubiquitous presence in Memphis as she organized volunteers for the Reach to Recovery program to touch women who had gone through cancer surgery in Memphis hospitals. She loved her PEO sisterhood as they worked together to support philanthropy and education. She would serve as the Tennessee state President Mary Lawrence devoted increasing amounts of time knocking on doors, raising awareness and support for the . She recently received the St.George National Award, which is the highest, award from the for a lifetime of service and volunteerism.
Mary Lawrence discovered a latent talent and love for art. She would use the proceeds from her art exhibits to support many Memphis ministries and charities. Her art can be seen in many corporate offices, homes, the Peabody Hotel and the Tennessee Governor's mansion. She loved her friends in the Memphis/ Germantown Art League and credited them for her progress and inspiration.
She and R.C. grew very close with each incidence of cancer. They were proud of surviving a year in which they had three sons at Vandy and one at MUS. They enjoyed trips to see Nashville, Europe, Israel, and a second honeymoon in Hawaii. Family reunions at the beach with the grandchildren were cherished by all. Family times were full of time for golf, games, music, and football. Mary Lawrence and R.C. had a sense of urgency and appreciation for life. Mary Lawrence and R.C. were so proud that each of their sons would have a life of faith in Christ. Mary Lawrence Allen's life emulated the message from the apostle Paul in II Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." A life well lived to the fullest indeed. May she rest in eternal peace.
Mary Lawrence was preceded in death by father Col. Lawrence B. Feagin(Cassie), mother Mary Ellen Moore Feagin, husband R.C. Allen. She is survived by her devoted sister Ellen Feagin Hyndman. She is survived by four loving sons: Rives C. "Trip" Allen (Elizabeth), Lawrence Ross Allen (Maile), Jeffrey Norman Allen (Nanci), and James Edward "Jimmy" Allen (Lisa). There are 21 grandchildren AND 8 great grandchildren who have loved their "GrandMary" so much.
The family will have a time of visitation this Thursday night February 2"' at the Memorial Park Funeral Home inside the cemetary at Poplar and Yates from 5-7PM. A memorial service will be held on Friday February3rd at Second Presbyterian Church at One PM with reception following the service in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Advance Memphis, Neighborhood Christian Center, or the .
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Feb. 2, 2017
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