Mary Ann Lawrence
One of DeLand's leading ladies has exited the stage.
Mary Ann Lawrence, 80, passed peacefully on April 22nd 2021, with her children at her bedside. Services for Mary Ann will be at Lankford Funeral Home in DeLand on Saturday, May 15th, with visitation 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. with the service from 11-noon. From noon to 2 p.m., the family will host a time of fellowship, with details to be announced at the service.
The family requests that those attending wear bright colors, in honor of Mary Ann's example of expressionism; crazy knee socks, Mary Ann's trademark, are totally appropriate.
Mary Ann was born Nov. 9th, 1940, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, the daughter of Mary Lynnwood Pipkin Hollingsworth and George Rose Hollingsworth.
She grew up in St. Augustine. A graduate of Ketterlinus High School in St. Augustine in 1958, she was named Miss St. Augustine in 1959. She graduated from the University of Florida (Go, Gators!) as a Kappa Delta sister, with a bachelor of arts in education in 1962.
After graduation, Mary Ann married and moved to DeLand. She taught elementary school for two years and, in her laughing words, "only warped about 60 minds."
After teaching and then taking a few years off to welcome her firstborn, Mary Ann began working as a professional bookkeeper, a skill she had learned from her father-in-law. She went on to keep books for several DeLand businesses, also earning her real estate license and starting her own business in the early 1980s.
She retired in 2005 from Volusia Title Services, where she had worked for eight years.
Mary Ann always found time to give back to her community, volunteering for such organizations as the Junior Welfare/Service League, where she discovered her passion for service; the Hyacinth Circle of the Garden Club of DeLand, where she discovered her knack for gardening; and the DeLand Museum of Art, where she found her love of the arts, and the artist within her.
Her service with the museum led to a leadership role on the committee that conceived DeLand's Cultural Arts Center and opened it in 1991. She was also involved in the founding of DeLand's Fall Festival of the Arts, which took place for the first time in 1992, and served for many years as its treasurer.
Mary Ann was actively involved in the West Volusia arts community for more than 45 years. She was chairman of the Building Committee for the Cultural Arts Center, served as president of the board of directors of the DeLand Museum of Art, and was a performing member and volunteer with Sands Theater Center.
Her artistic nature found its expression in oil and acrylic painting, stained glass, quilting, sewing, embroidery, and theater.
She acted in, supported, or directed 16 shows at Shoestring Theater 1979-86. Mary Ann had her directing debut, and her daughter had her acting debut in shows at Shoestring.
In 1986, she performed in Inherit the Wind, her first show with the Cultural Arts Center/Sands Theater Center, which evolved into the Athens Theatre. By 2010, she had contributed to more than 35 shows, either acting, directing, stage-managing, or volunteering as an usher.
Her "weird" lives on in the lives of her family members, including son Thomas "Tom" J. Lawrence Jr. (Susie) and daughter E. Kelly Lawrence O'Leary (Alex), both of DeLand; brothers George R. Hollingsworth II (Bean) of Orlando and Robert "Bob" Kenion Hollingsworth (Carla) of Arkansas; grandchildren Maggie Lawrence MacDonald (Jon) of DeLand, Sarah Ann Lawrence (Michelle) of Missouri, and Martha Lawrence (David) of DeLand and Shamus O'Leary of DeLand; and great-grandson Jackson MacDonald of DeLand. She is also survived by her nephews Billy Lawrence, Kim Lawrence, Jamie Lawrence, and Scott Hollingsworth; and her nieces, Nikki Wilson, Ronette Lawrence, and LeAnn Strickland. And, lastly, her "sisters" by choice - you know who you are.
Memorial donations may be made to the Museum of Art - DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL 32720; the Athens Theatre, 124 N. Florida Ave., DeLand, FL 32720; or to Shoestring Theatre, 380 S. Goodwin St., Lake Helen, FL 32744.
If Mary Ann were able, she would remind her friends and loved ones: "Chin up, knockers out!" Her farewell service will be a celebration of a life well-lived.