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Elizabeth Coleman Lay

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WE celebrate the life ofELIZABETH COLEMAN LAY, born January 7, 1919, died and was born into eternal life April 9, 2010. Growing up in Lufkin, Texas, the East Texas Piney Woods were Elizabeth's playground. There, along with her three older brothers, Thomas F. Coleman, Sr., Ralph James Coleman, and Charles Gaston Coleman, Elizabeth learned to throw a baseball, run a good footrace, and to have a kind heart. Dancing to the Victrola in the parlor, hot chocolate on an especially cold morning, and honey gathered from a wild beehive among the dogwood, pine, and magnolia trees, were special delights of her childhood. Graduating with honors from the University of Texas, she began her thirty-year career as a teacher of high school English literature, a career she truly loved.On June 6, 1942, she married fellow Longhorn, Archie Wilson Lay, loving him every minute of every hour of every day for 65 years. Elizabeth was a true lady, having that presence which comes from being reared in the genteel world of calling cards and the required dress of hat, gloves, and heels. She taught her family to be independent thinkers, to have compassion, and no matter what life would bring, everything would be "all right." Elizabeth never raised her voice, she did not favor swearing or liquor and it was not tolerated in her home. She had a deep love for the natural world. When geese could be heard flying overhead in the fall, or a full moon was hanging so close you felt as if you could touch it, or a rainbow appeared, her children were summoned to her side. Under God's great sky, and with His illustrations grandly displayed above, is where Elizabeth measured true wealth. Grace was her North Star, faith her compass, and so it is she lived. She walked the Great Wall of China, sailed the Volga River, waltzed in Vienna, threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, and visited the home of the greatest writer of all, Shakespeare. Fluent in three languages, her travels around the world with our father were lifelong dreams fulfilled. Recalling them never failed to bring her happiness. Avid birdwatchers, Elizabeth and Archie spent many years pursuing that shared passion in their travels as well.Elizabeth, as "Grammy," rocked and cradled five grandchildren and one great-grandson. She attended hours of sporting events and grandparent days, with a smile, and that well known twinkle in her eye. An active member of United Methodist Women for over fifty years, she served her beloved Memorial Drive United Methodist Church over thirty- five years. Name a board or committee, and Elizabeth most likely served on it. She continued her gift and passion for teaching through years of teaching adult Sunday school and in the United Methodist Women. Elizabeth was an original founder of and volunteer with Memorial Area Ministries. With grit and grace she eased our father's last days, and at eighty-eight years of age, Elizabeth bid her final adieu to the ninety-year-old love of her life, on May 28, 2007.Surviving her are children Jan Hill, Ralph Lay, spouse Kim Graham, and Mary Lay Kesterson, spouse Ron Kesterson, grandchildren, Catherine Hill Tanner, spouse Travis Tanner, great-grandson Luke William Tanner, David Hill, Jennifer Lay, Graham Jankura, Sara Kesterson, and Andrew Kesterson. Elizabeth says a fond farewell to her many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly, her sister-in-law Gladys Lay Smith of Bellville Texas, and brother-in-law Thomas Lay and wife Ruth of Friendswood Texas.A special acknowledgement to her many cherished friends in the Bridgebuilders Class and United Methodist Women of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church. The celebration of her life will be held at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, Saturday April 17, 2010, 1:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Caring Forever Fund, Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, 12955 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77079.To know her was to love her.

Published in Houston Chronicle from Apr. 16 to Apr. 17, 2010
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