Cincinnati – age 98, went to be with our Lord on Friday, August 12, 2022. Virginia Ellen Martin was born February 4, 1924 in Columbus, OH. Beloved daughter of Ralph B. and May K. Martin, Virginia married Benjamin Lawrence on August 24, 1952 in Barbourville, Kentucky.
Growing up on College Street in Barbourville, she attended Union College her freshman and sophomore years. She completed her bachelor’s degree in English at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia in 1945. After college, Virginia worked as a teller at the bank in Barbourville.
Classwork at Wesleyan sparked a desire for a master’s degree in bacteriology from University of Kentucky. Realizing she was missing too many prerequisites in science, Ginny opted to study at the Kentucky Board of Health in Louisville where she trained as a lab technician. Out of school she quickly found a job at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. She lived with other hospital staff in the “old nurses’ home” behind the hospital. From Christ Hospital, she moved into a medical assistant job at the employee clinic of Proctor & Gamble in Ivorydale, working for the two full time doctors. Ginny moved into Gray Manor, a boarding house with many young professionals including Ben Lawrence. They married and had their first child, Stephen. After his birth, the Army drafted Ben and sent the young family to Virginia where Ann was born. Once his term of service ended, they all returned to Cincinnati, moving to Finneytown.
Virginia served her church and community throughout her lifetime. As a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, she sang in the sanctuary choir for 60 years. She also served as Deacon, Wedding Reception Coordinator, and in the Knitting ministry. Even at age 98, Ginny dedicated herself to a Cards Ministry sending notes of love and encouragement to church members, veterans, friends and family.
In the community, she worked at Brent School as librarian, volunteered at Providence Hospital, in Girl Scouts, and in the PTA. She was a member of the Cincinnati Women’s Club, supporting their mission by regularly knitting children’s sweaters and hats for distribution at Christmas.
Ginny and Ben loved travel. Life opportunities took them across the US and Canada and to England, France, Germany, Italy and beyond. They sailed the Mediterranean exploring the Grecian islands and cruised the Canal du Midi in southern France. They owned a condo on the beach in Duck, North Carolina and finally a cottage on Long Lake near Hale, Michigan, where they summered. They particularly enjoyed the educational and nature travel of Elderhostel (now Road Scholar), especially to the Galapagos Islands.
A lover of nature, Virginia could readily identify many wildflowers, trees, and birds. She always made sure her bird feeders were full, inviting a variety of birds into her world, growing her lifetime bird list. Her backyard deck was always a colorful show of the many birds that gathered there.
Virginia was preceded in death by her mother, May Koontz Martin; father, Ralph Bartlett Martin; stepmother, Sadie Worley Martin; and husband of nearly 70 years, Ben. She is survived by her two children, Stephen H. (Rebekah S.) Lawrence of Troy, Ohio and Dr. Ann T. Lawrence (Jan A. Utrecht) of Cincinnati; half-brother Thomas B. Martin (Barbara M.) of Granville, OH; three grandchildren Hannah K. and Andrew S. Lawrence (Kathleen Maguire) and Elizabeth A. Utrecht; and one great-granddaughter Daphne.
Family burial service: August 19, 2022, Spring Grove Cemetery.
Memorial Celebration of Life Service: October 8, 2022, 11am, Northminster Presbyterian Church. Send gifts in lieu of flowers to Northminster Presbyterian Church, 703 Compton Rd, Cincinnati OH 45231 marked “traditional music ministry in memory of Virginia Lawrence”