Sarah Olive Lawrence, 103, died peacefully at her home on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
She was born Sarah Owen Olive on November 16, 1919, in the Cumberland County community of Wade to Dr. Percy Wingate Olive and Sallie Williams Olive. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel Charles Lawrence, Jr.; brothers Percy Wingate Olive, Jr. and William Sidney “Bill” Olive; sisters Florence Orion Olive, Margaret Olive Newberry, Mary Olive White, Georgetta “Georgia” Olive Davis; and grandson Daniel Vann Whitaker. She is survived by daughters Sally Lawrence Sandifer (Chris) of Spring Hope and Molly Lawrence Whitaker (George) of Sanford; grandchildren Becky Whitaker of Sanford and Lawrence Sandifer (Tracy) of Houston, TX; step-grandson Jeremey Whitaker (Ashley) of Sanford, and step-great granddaughters Lauren and Caroline Whitaker and Grace and Hannah Britton; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Sarah was the fifth of seven children and grew up in Fayetteville at the Olive family home known as West Lawn. She attended school in Fayetteville and graduated from Meredith College where she majored in primary education and art. She taught third grade in Sanford for a year before returning to Fayetteville during World War II where she continued teaching. Sarah was then hired as the photographer on base at Fort Bragg during the war. After the war she became a social worker, later attending UNC-Chapel Hill for further study to become a child welfare worker. While teaching in Sanford, Sarah met her husband, Dan. They were married after he completed his service in the U.S. Navy.
Sarah was a devout member of St. Luke United Methodist Church (formerly Steele Street UMC) where she taught Sunday School, chaired a Circle, and served on many committees. She especially enjoyed St. Luke’s Wesley Bible Class. She also enjoyed being a member of the Otherwise Book Club, the Pine Needles Garden Club, and her bridge club. Sarah was a talented artist, especially watercolors and woodcarving. She traveled extensively over the course of her life and was a lover of nature and the beauty of the earth, especially God’s creation of humans and animals.
The family wishes to express sincere gratitude to Parkview In-Home Aide Services and Gentiva Hospice, and particularly to valued caregivers Ann Johnson, Darlene Jackson, Debbie Burnside, Grace Melvin, Brenda Garrett, Karen Battle, Denise Stroud, Curtette Pulliam, Christine Talley, and Candice McCutchen; hospice nurses Laurie Blackwell, Kim Rodriguez, and Linda Thorne; and numerous other aides who helped keep Sarah comfortable at home.
A celebration of life will be held Wednesday, May 31 at 2:00 pm in the sanctuary at St. Luke UMC. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 12:45 to 1:45 pm in the St. Luke Ladies Parlor. Interment will be private at Buffalo Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke United Methodist Church, 2916 Wicker Street, Sanford, NC 27330.