Rhea B. Lawrence, age 97, passed away Monday, February 08, 2021.
Rhea Lawrence was the embodiment of a smile. He was a loving husband, dad and Rhea Rhea to his grandchildren. Rhea had his priorities in order, he loved his Lord, family, country and community. He was married to the love of his life, Marie, for over 70 years and was very proud of his family. Rhea served in the Army during World War II and came home to serve his community, where he was elected to the Smyth County Board of Supervisors three different times and served in that capacity for 11 years. Rhea was a strong advocate of expanding all services, including mental health to individuals of Smyth County as a supporting member and board chairperson in his tenure with the Mount Rogers Community Services Board and in honor, the Rhea B. Lawrence Recovery Center was dedicated in his name. Mr. Lawrence was a lifelong member of the state G.O.P., an established member of the Mountain Empire Credit Union, a local Civil Defense Coordinator, he was selected to serve on the Governor’s Board of Virginia, a Red Kettle Collector with the Salvation Army and a passionate supporter of the Easter Seals camp and program. When Rhea wasn’t shaking hands with his constituents, he was working as the purchasing agent for Brunswick Defense Corporation’s recreational division. Rhea went on to be the Superintendent for the Smyth County Public Service Authority. He loved NASCAR, antique cars, feeding wildlife around his home, frequenting yard sales, talking about the weather, collecting a key chain or sharing a hello with the many people he knew. Rhea’s arrival in Heaven will guarantee that only well-groomed lawns exist there, as he will forever ride his favorite John Deere lawn tractor with his signature straw hat!
He was preceded in death by his wife, Marie Blevins Lawrence; mother, Laura Anna Lawrence Skaggs; brother, Francis Marion Lawrence, Jr.; aunt, Mary Elizabeth McGlothlin; grandfather, Francis Marion Lawrence, Sr.; and grandmother, Laura Bagwell Lawrence.
Rhea is survived by his sons, Gregory Rhea Lawrence, and wife, Leesa of Atkins, Va., and Robert Bates Lawrence and wife, Judy of Marion, Va.; grandchildren, Nigel R. Lawrence of Los Alamos, N.M., Lori A. Lawrence of Austin, Tex., and Bobi E. Lawrence of Kingsport, Tenn.; brother, Hubert Hiram Skaggs of Frederick, Md.; and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Rose Lawn Cemetery, 4410 Lee Highway, Marion, Va. with Pastor Justin Hall officiating. Family and friends attending are asked to follow the COVID-19 Safety & Social Distancing Guidelines. A Remembrance service for Rhea will be held at a later date upon our community’s successful journey past the COVID crisis. Details will be published at that time.
Flowers are appreciated or memorial donations may be made to Mt. Rogers Mental Health / Mt. Rogers Community Services, c/o Kathy Cressel, 770 West Ridge Road, Wytheville Va. 24382; Cedar Bluff Baptist Church, c/o Treasurer, 132 Churchland Drive, Atkins, Va. 24311, or The Salvation Army, c/o Treasurer, P.O. Box 133, Marion, Va. 24354.
To share memories of Rhea B. Lawrence please visit www.seaverbrown.com. Care for Rhea’s family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion, Va. 24354.