Betty Rose Irby Lawrence of Canton, 75, died February 25, 2021, at St. Dominic’s Hospital after a brief illness due to complications from a stroke. Funeral services will be held at Breeland Funeral Home, 3304 S. Liberty St., in Canton, MS, on Sunday, February 28, at 2:00 p.m. Visitation will be held starting at 12:00 noon.
Mrs. Lawrence was the daughter of T.O. and Eloise (Weems) Irby. She was born in Morton, MS, and attended Morton public schools and Belhaven College. She was employed by several companies in various administrative capacities, including Madison County Equipment, Petroleum Marketers, and the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
Mrs. Lawrence is survived by her six children: Patsy “Kit” Hicks (Mike); Dewye “Dee” Lawrence, Jr.; Donna Lawrence; Jacqueline “Jackie” Sowell (Terry); Richard Lawrence; Regina Ferguson (Denman); together with fourteen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dewye Lawrence, Sr.
One of the last true Southern ladies, Betty always wore pearls and would not be seen in public unless her hair was done. The daughter of a farmer/truck driver, she was proud of her country roots and loved all things Mississippi, including cotton, magnolias, Elvis and Ole Miss. She was an avid reader, especially of Mississippi authors, such as William Faulkner, John Grisham, and her favorite, Willie Morris. At the tender age of nineteen, she went from being an only child, to marrying into a ready-made family with five children, including an infant. She embraced being part of a large extended family community, which included helping host Thanksgivings and other holiday gatherings for up to fifty people (and that was before she started having grandchildren!). Whenever she could, she supported all of her family in their various scholastic, athletic, and artistic endeavors. Known for being a great conversationalist, Betty was always happy to swap stories about her family with others. Betty enjoyed road trips and would often travel the back ways through small towns sampling the local cuisine. A lifelong Republican, she was an enthusiastic student of politics of every sort. Having been accepted into the large Lawrence clan, she was always welcoming of others into her ever-expanding family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grace Church Outreach Community Food Pantry, P.O. Box 252, Canton, MS 39046.
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