Dr. Tracy Nelson Lawrence

September 27, 1917June 7, 2012

Dr. Tracy Nelson Lawrence, a long-time resident of Houston, Texas, passed away peacefully on Thursday, the 7th of June 2012, at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Elma Lee Lawrence and is preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Sandra Lee Lawrence. Tracy was born in Logan, Texas on the 27th of September 1917, the son of Robert and ArriZona (Adam) Lawrence. After attending Carthage High School, where he lettered in four sports, Tracy joined the Trinity CCC Tree Army Camp to provide for his family on the 7th of July 1934. He then proudly served his country in the US Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged as the youngest ranked Chief Petty Officer. While attending a parade honoring the homecoming of the soldiers he met Elma Lee Martin. They married in May of 1947 and had two daughters, Sandra Lee Lawrence and Karon Lynn Lawrence. He successfully started and managed two businesses, Eureka Concrete Company and Houston Truck & Equipment, for over fifty years. In addition, he invested in the banking and real estate market. Tracy Lawrence’s signature characteristic was his generosity. Through the unexpected death of his daughter, Sandra Lee, his love for Christian Education was born. As one of its founders, Tracy and Lee became long-time friends of Houston Baptist University. The University recognized his Christian leadership, commitment to Christian higher education, and service as a member of the Board of Trustees, in May of 2006 by bestowing upon him with an honorary Doctorate for his contributions, the University’s most prestigious award. Additionally, Tracy and Lee Lawrence, along with their daughter, Karon, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, were named the first “Family of the Year” by HBU in recognition of their love and support for the University. Landmarks on the HBU campus, named in honor of the Lawrence’s, include Lawrence Park and the Hinton Academic Center, in memory of their daughter, Sandra Lee Lawrence, whose name can be seen above the main entrance to the Center. In addition, the Lawrence’s established three full scholarships that repeatedly benefit many students through the university. They are lifetime members of the Presidential Counsel and the Covenant Society. Houston Baptist University appreciates his service and dedication of nearly fifty years. The remembrance of Tracy can be admired through the future growth of all the trees on campus, which he personally donated at the founding of the university. “Where some see dirt, I see the future.” are the words spoken by Tracy at the groundbreaking ceremony that will always be remembered. As a dedicated Christian, Tracy was a long time active member and Charter Deacon of Second Baptist Church for over seventy years. His love for God showed in his generosity. His strong faith and personal relationship with the Lord was shown daily as he led by example, inspiring so many people to accept the Lord as their Savior. He was known for spreading the word of God through his knowledge of the Bible. Members of the church know him for his noble heart, wise counsel, and undying faith in Jesus Christ. Tracy Lawrence recently donated Lawrence Hall in his father’s loving memory, Robert C. Lawrence, to Logan Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, where Tracy attended church as a boy. To further serve his community, Tracy was an honored sixty year member of the S.P. Waltrip Masonic Lodge. He graduated to the next level of the Arabia Temple Shriners Golfers Drum Core. He achieved the highest level of the Royal Order of Jesters. Throughout his life, Tracy created an increasingly wide circle of friends from many great walks of life. A man of great loyalty to his family and friends, Tracy was known for his humor, love of golf, generosity and work ethic. In addition to his parents and daughter, Tracy is preceded in death and sole survivor of his siblings Milas, Homer, Infant Baby Girl, Infant Baby Boy, Bobbie Inez, Bonnie Irene, Noble Silas, Opal IC, Rayburn Wayne, Price Winton, and Robert Quinton. Those left to celebrate his life are his beloved wife, Elma Lee Lawrence; daughter, Karon Lynn Lawrence; five grandchildren, Sandra Jelliff Wilson, Tracy Jelliff Donalson, Lori Jelliff Donalson, Michael Allen Jelliff, and Jonathan Stephen Jelliff, all of Houston. He also leaves behind five great-grandchildren, Mackenzie Martin Wilson, Taylor Nelson Donalson, Grayson Scott Wilson, Sidney Lynn Donalson, and Pierce Dennis Donalson, all of Houston. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until eight o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 11th of June, in the Library and Grand Foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston. The funeral service celebrating his life is to be conducted at three o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, the 12th of June, in the Sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive in Houston, where Rev. John Barksdale, Executive Director of Pastoral Ministries, is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the nearby Deacons' Parlor. Later in the week, the family is to gather for a private interment at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Apple Springs, Texas. In lieu of customary remembrances the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Dr. Lawrence's name be directed to The Arabia Temple Shriners, 10510 Harwin Drive, Houston, TX, 77036. Tracy Lawrence lovingly coined this phrase, inspired by the Adams’ family name, to express his personal love for each of the grandchildren and great grandchildren: “You have a lot of Adam in you!” Now the children have the honor of expressing their love in return, “Popey, you had a lot of Adam in you!”


  • Family and Friends Will Gather Monday, June 11, 2012
  • The Funeral Service and Celebratin of Life Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dr. Tracy Nelson Lawrence

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Debby Giraud

July 10, 2012

I never met Mr. Lawrence, but knowing his daughter Karon, he had to be a wonderful man.

Julie Hinton Parton

June 14, 2012

Do you suppose Tracy and my Daddy already have a golf game scheduled in heaven? I wouldn't be surprised! Don't you know they're enjoying the reunion of two old friends -- now for all eternity!

Doug Hodo

June 14, 2012

Lee and family, Sadie and I truly mourn the loss of Tracy but. know that he is where he is suppose to be--with his beloved Savior Jesus. Of all the dedicated Trstees at HBU, Tracy was right there with the very best. His love for the Lord was exemplified by his love for his family and HBU. Love Sadie and Doug Hodo

Ruth Rutherford

June 12, 2012

I am so sorry for your loss! I sincerely wish I could have been there for you!! Love

Joseph Dorsey

June 12, 2012

I recall as a child the first time I saw Dr. Lawrence and he appeared as such a towering man to me. It is obvious he lived his life as a towering man in so many ways by all of the good works of his life. I know he is now with Sandra, one of my favorite classmates, who left us so early in life. My condolences to Mrs. Lawrence, one of the sweetest moms I have known, and to Karon.

Joseph....class of 1959

Asa Weldon

June 11, 2012

Our loving Heavenly Father gifted us with a real example of a Jesus like man. I am blessed to have known Tracy and his fine family. I pray Lee and Karon and all the grandbabies won't miss Tracy too much, and know he's waiting for us now as we celebrate his long rich life. Love to you, Asa Weldon

Joan Lowry

June 11, 2012

Dr. Lawrence,please give Sandra my love when you see her in heaven. She was a dear friend and the sweetest girl in our class at Spring Branch High. You must have been as special as she.

Joan Griffin Lowry... class of 1959.

Lanelle Cegielski

June 11, 2012

Tracy was a sweet, sweet man. He was truly one of the finest individuals I have ever met. He was loved by everyone who knew him, and he will truly be missed. Lee, you and your family will definitely be in my prayers. May God bless and comfort all of you.

Sheila and Ronnie Darby

June 10, 2012

Sending prayers to you all, So sorry for your loss.

June 10, 2012

I can just imagine the beautiful smile on Opal's face when she saw Uncle Tracy cross over into Heaven! What a reunion he is having with all his brothers and sisters! Uncle Tracy was a role model to Tommy and all who knew him. He was loved and will be missed. Aunt Elma Lee and Karon, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Molded in Him, Paulette