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Carolyn Lawrence


1948 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Carolyn Lawrence Obituary
August 2, 1948 - August 1, 2018 On August 1st, suddenly and unexpectedly, Carolyn Lawrence, interior designer and longtime resident of Santa Monica, CA, passed away at her home. Smart, beautiful, vibrant and extraordinarily talented, Carolyn made the world around her a more beautiful place. Her work was guided by her knowledge of timeless, classic design, sensitivity to the quiet beauty around her and a caring thoughtfulness. She had the unique ability to design environments that could both take your breath away and make you feel right at home. Carolyn was the daughter of Grace Leabu (deceased) and Arka Shanks Sr. (deceased). She was born into a large, extended Italian family and raised in the Detroit/metropolitan area. She attended Michigan State University where she earned her degree in Art History. She then went on to receive a Master's degree in Interior Design at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Embracing her sense of adventure, after graduation, she moved to France. She spent a season working on one of the very first small hotel barges that cruised the canals of the French wine country. She settled in Paris where she studied design and lived for ten years. Carolyn returned to the States, choosing Los Angeles to pursue her interior design career. Shortly thereafter she gained her first recognition for her design work at two of L.A.'s finest Italian restaurants, Valentino and Primi. She formed her own company, CMS Design. Some of her most exquisite work was in residential interior design for numerous clients in the entertainment industry. While still active in design, she opened her own gift, antique and specialty boutique on the exclusive Melrose Place. Among her many customers was Oprah Winfrey. Years later after closing the doors on Melrose she designed, co-produced and marketed a line of custom women's blouses which sold at boutique shops in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara. Carolyn loved music of all kinds. She also felt deeply about protecting the innocent and defenseless as seen in her support of women's shelters and animal rescue. She loved family and appreciated a great story, especially a funny one. Shortly before the death of her beloved mother, Grace, who resided in West Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Carolyn fulfilled her mother's longtime dream of a transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary II. Carolyn was once married to music producer Rhett Lawrence. She is survived by her older brother, Arka Shanks (Pattie) of Wilmington, North Carolina, and younger brother, Nicholas Shanks (Elizabeth) and nieces Colleen and Caroline of Chelsea, Michigan. In addition, she leaves behind her loving partner, Rick Lavin, countless friends & associates, as well as her darling (third) Pomeranian, "Trinket." There will be no public memorial. For those who wish to honor Carolyn's memory with a donation, the following were her favored charities: Mercy for Animals (www.mercyforanimals.org), Animal Equality International (www.animalequality.org), Marie Stopes International (www.mariestopes.org), The Humane League (www.thehumaneleague.org), ASPCA (www.aspca.org)
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 11 to Aug. 12, 2018
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