Mattie Florene (Flo) Lawrence of Palestine passed away on May 26, 2021, at age 93. Flo was born in Tomball, Texas on October 27, 1927. She graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville in 1950 with a B.A. in education. While a student there, she met and married Price Winton (Slim) Lawrence, a tall, strapping WWII Marine veteran. The couple settled in Houston, where Flo obtained her M.A. in education from the University of Houston in 1956. She taught grades 4-6 in the Houston Independent School District for 30 years, retiring in 1981.
Flo and Slim then moved to Grapeland where they opened Flo’s Antiques on Main Street. The couple was active in the Grapeland community and soon joined the First Baptist Church. Flo and Slim made periodic trips around the country with his WWII Marine buddies and their wives. Flo also traveled internationally and was especially proud to be in London for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. In her final years, Flo resided at Windermere at Cartmell Assisted Living in Palestine, where she enjoyed making new friends and reading novels or anything about the British royal family.
Throughout her career, Flo was a role model for women as professionals. She was an active member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club from the late 1950s and was elected in 1970 to Delta Kappa Gamma, an international professional educators society. In Grapeland, she became active in the Houston County Retired Teachers Association, serving in the 1980s as President, Past-President, Treasurer and District VI Awards Chairman. Politically active, she campaigned for local candidates in Houston and in Harris County; she voted in every presidential election through 2020.
Flo’s greatest impact was on the lives of children, ranging from her students to her numerous nieces and nephews. Having no children of their own, Flo and Slim in 1960 adopted a 12 year-old boy (Clint) and his 10 year-old sister (Bonnie), an act of grace having consequences far beyond their immediate family. Clint became a well-known Medical Doctor and Bonnie a Registered Nurse.
Flo was predeceased by her father, Barnaby Ciscero Welsh; her mother, Mattie Viola Ellisor Welsh; and her husband, Price Winton Lawrence; siblings: Lois Emogene Welsh Watson, Shelby Glen Welsh, James Ingram Welsh, and Darden Garrett Welsh. She is survived by her children: Dr. Ernest Clinton Lawrence (Deborah Marlowe) of Atlanta, GA; and Bonnie Kay Satterlee of Arlington, TX; grandchildren: Bryan Wayne Lawrence (Amanda) of Jackson, MS, David Clinton Lawrence (Elizabeth) of Austin, TX, Craig Andrew Lawrence of Austin, TX, CWO2 Courtney Renee Lawrence, USMC of Alexandria, VA, and Stacie Kay Satterlee of Bedford, TX; great-grandchildren: Townes Chapman Lawrence, Brandon Leigh Lawrence, and Miles Wayne Lawrence; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will welcome visitation for Flo at 11:00 am on Friday, June 4, 2021, at First Baptist Church Grapeland, TX. A Memorial Service will follow at 12:00 noon, Pastor Craig Vance officiating. Interment will be at Bennett Cemetery, Apple Springs, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Children’s Ministry, First Baptist Church, 258 W. Chestnut Street, Grapeland, TX 75844.
The family is grateful to the staff at Windermere for providing Flo such a pleasant place to live these last several years; and to the nurses of TruCare Living Center and Heart to Heart Hospice for easing her transition from this life to the next in her final days.
Funeral services are in care of Rhone Funeral Home, 3900 S. State Highway 19, Palestine, TX.
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