MARY "Nellie" LAWRENCE
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LAWRENCE MARY NELL THOMAS LAWRENCE "Nellie" Wife of Fred and mother of Eric and Chris, passed away in the early morning of Wednesday, December 21, 2016 in Alexandria, VA. She was 74. Nellie was born in Houston, Texas on December 8, 1942, to Marcus Wray and Martha Elizabeth Hutchins Thomas. She graduated in 1961 from Lamar High School in Houston and matriculated at Southern Methodist University. After marriage, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Education and History in 1965 at LSU-New Orleans. Nellie and Fred met on a blind date in 1959 and quickly became high school sweethearts. Their life long journey of enduring love was cemented when they were married in Houston, Texas on July 25, 1964. The couple moved to New Orleans where her two sons, Eric and Chris were born. She provided unwavering support and guidance for her family as they moved to McLean, VA, Denver, CO and finally Alexandria, VA. Nellie had two passions in life: the unconditional love of her family and a deep intel- lectual curiosity for lifelong learning and education. Nellie was a certified elementary teacher, a G.E.D coordinator and a docent at the Woodlawn Plantation, Frank Lloyd Wright Pope-Leighey House and the National Portrait Gallery. Always the active learner and volunteer, she was a compulsive reader and was involved with several organizations including P.E.O. International - Chapter J, Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Smithsonian programs, and OSHER Lifelong Learning. Regularly attending plays, concerts, operas and exhibits, she also loved hiking, backpacking, fishing and skiing in the Rocky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains. Travel to historic or scenic sights and towns occupied many extended weekends . Nellie is survived by her husband of fifty-two years, John Frederick; sons, John Eric and his wife, Patricia Thompson Lawrence, and Christopher Alan and his wife, Catherine Ann Sheeler Lawrence; and her six loving grandchildren, Sadie Oxford Lawrence, John Patrick Lawrence, Beaumont Cunningham Lawrence, Christina Elizabeth Lawrence, John Thomas Lawrence and Mary Caroline Lawrence. She is also survived by her brothers, Marcus and Robert Hutchins Thomas along with sister-in-love, Lynda Sims Lawrence and nephews, Father Robert and Michael Graham Lawrence and James Thomas. A memorial service for friends and family will be held at eleven o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, December 28 in the Chapel of the Demaine Funeral Home, 520 South Washington Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Immediately following, all are invited to join the family at a reception at the same location. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Nellie's memory be directed to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Smithsonian Institution Campaign, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, or the charity of one's choice. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Nellie's memory be directed to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Smithsonian Institution Campaign, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, or the charity of one's choice.

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Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 25, 2016.
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