Great Barrington — Nola Watson Lawrence peacefully departed this life on October 16, 2014, at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Pittsfield, Mass. She was born in Camden, Alabama on March 6, 1925. She was educated in Alabama public schools.In 1948, Nola relocated from Camden, Ala., to Great Barrington where she found work as a live-in domestic. Shortly thereafter, her fiancé, Elarge Lawrence, moved to Great Barrington where he found work as a dishwasher and the two were married at the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church on June 5, 1948. While the couple raised three children, Nola worked throughout the course of her married life as a domestic for several families; a waitress at Wyantenuck Country Club and Bryant Manor; a janitorial services provider; and as Supervisor of Housekeeping at the Willowood Nursing Home.
Nola was a founding member of the Macedonia Baptist Church where she was a faithful adherent, a church officer and served tirelessly on numerous church committees until her passing. She was a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the NAACP, the Thursday Morning Club and the Gt. Barrington Historical Society. Nola actively participated in the W.E.B. Dubois home site preservation effort. She was routinely engaged in the recognition and celebration of African-American history and culture in Southern Berkshire County. In fact, on July 9, 2011, Nola was one of several senior citizens recognized by Gov. Deval L. Patrick for her life-long commitment to the African-American community in the Berkshires.
Among Nola’s lifetime enjoyments were cooking and gardening. She thoroughly loved working outside in her flower gardens and grew a variety of vegetables in her vegetable garden. Though she often found herself battling to keep out all of the uninvited critters and the weeds, she always ended up with a great harvest. Among the many superb dishes and baked goods she routinely made, Nola’s homemade biscuits, red velvet cake and lemon meringue pie were legendary.
She is survived by one brother, John T. Kennedy of Mobile, Ala.; two daughters Frances Weaver of Chesapeake, Va.; Joyce Lawrence of Great Barrington; one son the Hon. Rick E. Lawrence (Barbara) of Portland, Me.; six grandchildren: Rodney E. Lawrence of Springfield Gardens, NY..; Sean M. Lawrence (Leeann) of Tampa, Fla.; Dwayne Weaver of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Katrisha Moultrie (Perry) of Chesapeake, Va.; Leah W. Lawrence of Portland, Me.; Tynan J. Lawrence of Portland, Me.; four great grandchildren Naquan L. Johnson of Chesapeake, Va.; Khalil P. Broughton of Chesapeake, Va.; Brielle Lawrence of Tampa, Fl.; Danielle Weaver of Brooklyn, N.Y.; twin great great granddaughters Paige and Paiton Johnson of Chesapeake, Va .,and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Nola was preceded in death by her husband, Elarge, and her brother Willie Watson.
A service celebrating the life of the late Nola Watson Lawrence will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home in Great Barrington, conducted by Rev. Mattie Conway. Burial will follow at Peltonbrook Cemetery in Great Barrington.
The family will receive friends on Friday, Oct. 24th from 4 to 7p.m. at the funeral home in Great Barrington.
Donations in memory of Nola may be made to the American Cancer Society through Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to her family go to www.finnertyandstevens.com
Saturday October 25, 2014, 10 a.m. at Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home