Obituary of Mary Ann Lawrence
Mary Ann (Mills) Lawrence, 90, wife of the late William Gordon Lawrence, Sr., passed away at the Parkhouse Nursing Center in Royersford on November 26, 2017.
Born in Pottstown, on August 28, 1927, she was the daughter of the late William Ellis and Roberta Marie (Ray) Mills, and the granddaughter of the prominent local merchant, Ellis Mills.
She graduated at age 15 from Pottstown High School in 1943, followed by a year of post graduate work at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. Mary Ann earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Bryn Mawr College in 1948. She also attended Peirce Business School in Philadelphia.
Having completed her education, Mary Ann returned to Pottstown to work in the family business – Ellis Mills department store. She met her future husband through her brother, William Ellis Mills, Jr., who also sang in the choir at Christ Episcopal Church. Mary Ann was married on October 2, 1954, enjoying almost 62 years of marriage before her husband’s death last September. She was a long-time, active member of Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown, where she and her husband served as faithful table parents mentoring and educating members of the Church’s youth group.
In 1951, Mary Ann began her social work career at the American Red Cross, serving the Pottstown, Phoenixville, and Norristown areas. In the 1960s, she moved to Family Services of Montgomery County. Then, in the 1970s, she became an assistant nursing home administrator, serving, in order: Morris Manor East in Plymouth Meeting, Leader Nursing Home in Norristown, and Leader Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pottstown.
Later in her career, she assisted her husband in running the Ellis Mills store. After downsizing the High Street location in 1984 and the closing of the North Hanover Street store in 1991, Mary Ann and Bill continued to travel to area nursing homes, where they sold adaptive clothing to elderly patients, through a company called Caring Concepts.
In 1973, alongside the Rev. Wilfred Penny, she was instrumental in the founding of the Pottstown Area Seniors Center (now the TriCounty Active Adult Center). Mary Ann subsequently served on its board for several decades. She was also a board member for the Pottstown chapter of the American Red Cross. She served on the board of the Dolphins of Delaware Valley, where she volunteered for 20 years as a visitor to residents in several area nursing homes.
She is survived by her three sons: William G., Jr., husband of Elinor, South Yarmouth, MA; Robert M., husband of Sandra, Downingtown; Samuel F., husband of Susan, Pottstown. There are also three grandsons: Ian C., husband of Danielle; Seth A., and Samuel N.; and one granddaughter, Jill M; three step-grandchildren: Christina and Timothy Stubanas, and Tara Waterman; and four step-great-grand-children, Tyler Whitehead, Isabelle Stubanas, and Grayson and Sumner Waterman. She is survived by a sister-in-law, Doreen Mills, but is predeceased by her brother, the Rev. William E. Mills, Jr., who died in 2006.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the TriCounty Active Adult Center (TCAAC), 288 Moser Rd, Pottstown, PA 19464 (please designate the Mary Ann Lawrence--Wilfred Penny Founders Fund) – or Christ Episcopal Church, PO Box 252, 316 High Street, Pottstown, 19464.
Funeral services will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown on Friday, December, 1st, beginning at 11:00 AM. Friends and family may call at the church between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.houckgofusfuneralhome.com. Interment service will follow at Edgewood Cemetery, Pottstown.