Sarah "Sissy" Lawshae

January 3, 1935June 22, 2014
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Sarah Elizabeth (“Sissy”) Johnson Lawshae died peacefully at her home on Sunday, June 22, 2014 after a brief bout with cancer.

Sissy was born and raised in Austin, TX, the daughter of Elizabeth Penn Johnson and Judge Thomas E. Johnson. She had two brothers, Marion Johnson and Penn Johnson. Fondest memories of childhood included spending time with the many cousins who lived in the neighborhood, and spending time at Camp Waloa on Cypress Creek in Wimberly, first as a camper and then as a counselor. She attended Austin High School and after graduating in 1952, attended the University of Texas where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications.

Sissy was a gifted piano and organ player, her first professional accompaniment jobs starting at thirteen years old. She accompanied hundreds of young Austinites throughout the years at junior high and high school UIL solo & ensemble competitions. She also played for churches, weddings, and organized many Lawshae family performances at the Austin Women’s Club and various other venues.

Sissy was a lifelong teacher with a great love of helping people. In her earlier years she was a babysitter, a camp counselor, and an English teacher. She was a gifted swimming teacher for over forty years, teaching babies, children and adults alike. She taught First Aid, Water Safety and Lifesaving for the American Red Cross, preparing many of Austin’s lifeguards for duty. She was a Girl Scout troop leader and was very active in the Lone Star Girl Scout Council. Every young instrument player that she accompanied also got some of the Sissy Lawshae wisdom and compassion.

Sissy was an important and beloved member of the Austin Women’s Club for many years. She became their Filming Liaison, revising the Club’s bylaws to allow film crews access to the beautiful historic building. She was a founding member of the Austin A Z chapter of P.E.O., which celebrates the educational advancement of women.

With ex-husband Allen Lawshae, Sissy bore and raised five children: Keith, Charlotte, Tom, Julia, and Karen. The years were filled with camping trips, sports games, musical performances, school projects, and lots & lots of driving! She never missed a school play or band/orchestra concert ; she was always there to support her children. She would also “adopt” anyone that needed help or support, making them “just another one of my kids.” She always had an extra place at her table for anyone who needed somewhere to go for the holidays. She was a warm and compassionate listener who always gave good advice.

Sissy was preceded in death by her mother Elizabeth Penn Johnson, father Judge Thomas E. Johnson, and brother Marion Johnson. She is survived by her five children: Keith Lawshae, Charlotte Kunz and husband Charlie, Tom Lawshae and wife Laurel, Julia Lawshae and husband Rob Hebert, and Karen Baucum and husband Kevin. She is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and other relatives too numerous to count.

A time of visitation with the family will be on Wednesday June 25,2014 at Cook-Walden Funeral Home at 6100 N Lamar Blvd Austin, TX from 4-8 pm. Funeral services will be on Thursday June 26,2014 at 2:00 pm at the University Presbyterian Church on 2203 San Antonio St, Austin, TX; there will be free parking at the University Co-op accross the street.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Austin AZ Chapter of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization). Please make checks payable to: Chapter AZ, PEO. Checks can be mailed to: Carolyn Scott, President, Chapter AZ PEO, 10704 Barnhill Dr., Austin, TX 78758


  • Visitation Wednesday, June 25, 2014
  • Funeral Service Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sarah "Sissy" Lawshae

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Janet Shown

June 27, 2014

Sissy was a dear and devoted friend of my mother, Raemar Shown. They shared many years together at the Lone Star Girl Scout Council, and later began a tradition of eating together every Friday night at their favorite Mexican restaurant. I always enjoyed joining them in this fun tradition when I visited Austin from my home in Colorado, or to play dominoes or put a puzzle together when she visited my mother. Sissy could always be counted on to make Mother laugh, grow and enjoy the moment, even during these last few years when my mother's health and cognition declined. I am so grateful to Sissy for the many wonderful memories she gave to my mother and our family. She will be greatly missed.

Laura Stebe

June 26, 2014

Sending thoughts and prayers in your time of sorrow. She was a sweet lady who will be missed.

Carolyn Johanson Flanagan

June 26, 2014

"Aunt" Sissy has been an important and cherished member of our extended Austin "family" for over 50 years. I can't remember a time in my life when we didn't know the Lawshaes. All of us kids grew up together. Our families often gathered for parties, picnics, swimming, and all kinds of fun. Aunt Sissy helped us with Girl Scouts (my mom was a co-leader for another troop), accompanied us on the piano in UIL competitions, and accompanied Julia in a solo at my wedding. Aunt Sissy was an incredible and dedicated mother, "aunt" and friend. She always had a smile, a word of encouragement, true grit and determination (when something needed to get done, she got it done or helped to get it done), sage advice, love, and a zest for life that she shared readily. We will miss Aunt Sissy for the rest of our lives, but she leaves a legacy of love, joy and encouragement that will forever be in our hearts.

June 25, 2014

We live across the street, moving to Fairlane Drive in the fall of 1993. Sissy and all of the neighbors were so very welcoming and remained so friendly over the years. I enjoyed exchanges with her when she would be out working in her yard. I am sorry that I did not realize that she was ill and now I am out of town all week. My prayers for her and all of the family. She was loved by so many. Sincerely! Sister Jean Ann Wesselman, DC, and all of the Daughters who have lived on Fairlane.

Darrell Kidd

June 25, 2014

I really am at loss for words, Sissy was a friend, a lady with a heart of gold. so many years that I cut her hair, it was a joy to see her come into the salon. I watched the children grow up. She loved her family so much. To me she was an angel on earth with a strong will, now Heaven has a new Angel. Peace, Prayers, and Love to her Family.

Rolinda Lawrence

June 24, 2014

The loss of this talented lady makes the world a lesser place.
Love, Rolinda and Kathy Lawrence. Laredo, TX

FHS Band Family

June 24, 2014

May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.

Malcolm Harris

June 24, 2014

I am very saddened by the loss of my contemporary cousin,Sissy. We grew up together. I was very much a part of the Johnson household, and Sissy, namesake of my mother "Sada", was very much a part of ours, especially during the Camp Waloa years.