Lawrence, Martha "Sue" Rice

Known For Her Amazing Hospitality And Memorable Gatherings In Her Home

  • Thursday, December 29, 2022
Martha "Sue" Rice Lawrence
Martha "Sue" Rice Lawrence

Martha "Sue" Rice Lawrence, 84, passed peacefully at her Lookout Mountain home on December 3, 2022.

The wife of local ophthalmologist and Episcopal priest, Rev. Dr. Harry M. Lawrence, she leaves behind her husband of 65 years and their five children: Robert M. Lawrence (Cathy), Susan Lawrence Brooks (Mike), Stephen T. Lawrence (Trina), Carol Lawrence Thornton (Allen), and Brooke Lawrence Montague (Langdon); seven grandchildren, David Brooks (Lavens), Grace Brooks Ratchford (Kenny), Taylor Lawrence (Nicole), Graham Lawrence, Justin Thornton (Cassandra), Brooks Montague, and Henry Montague; and five great-grandchildren.

Born in 1938 in Crossett, Ar., and then raised in Camden, Ar., by the late Terry Baker Rice and the late Grace Hudson Rice, she was preceded in death by a brother, Glen Rice, and a sister, Elizabeth Steele. Sue is survived by her older brother, Brooks T. Rice (Marilyn) and many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.

Formally educated in vocal performance, nursing, psychology, and theology, "Mama Sue" opened her heart and home to many. She was renowned for her amazing hospitality and memorable gatherings which were often accompanied by fabulous food, music and singing. She was an active member of Christ Church Episcopal, Chattanooga, where she served on the vestry and was a founding member of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. She also served as a volunteer for the Hamilton County Medical Society Auxiliary Board, the Chattanooga Symphony Guild Board, the Walker County Board of Health, the Advisory Board for Tennessee Dept. of Youth Development, and the Girl Scouts. She was on the founding boards of The Good Shepherd School on Lookout Mountain; the Lookout Mountain Middle School Project; the Preschool Vision and Hearing Survey; and Health House of Chattanooga at Erlanger, a children's health education facility. She and her family were also short-term medical missionaries in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

A requiem mass in celebration of Sue's life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Christ Church Episcopal (663 Douglas St., Chattanooga, TN 37403) followed by the committal of her ashes in the church's Memorial Garden and a reception in the parish hall. The family will receive visitors at the church from 1-2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Christ Church Episcopal in Chattanooga or a children's health/education charity of your choice.

Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.
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