Lille Frances “Mama Lillie” Lawton, 99, received her heavenly reward Saturday, May 21, 2016 with family by her side. A service of praise and celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday May 25, 2016 at Greater Faith Community Church, located at 417 Wesley St., with Bishop Aaron Blake as the Eulogist. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the church.
Lille was born Dec. 9, 1916 in Brownwood to the parentage of Benjamin Thomas and Mary Gilliam-Thomas, Mama Lillie being the eldest along with her two brothers, Benjamin Thomas and Parker Carter. Lillie attended college at Huston–Tillotson in Austin.
During World War II, Mrs. Lillie Lawton was a welder in a shipyard in California, where she was the only woman welder on the crew. After two years, and following the ending of war, Lillie finally decided she had had enough of welding, and got out the scissors. Mrs. Lawton went from ship-yard to barbering school. For 27 years, she owned and operated barbershops in San Francisco, San Mateo, Sweetwater and Brownwood. Her shop in Brownwood during the 1960s was on Beaver Street. In 1970, she sold her shops and enrolled in nursing school working as a licensed vocational nurse until retirement.
Lillie was a faithful member of Little Zion Baptist Church and in her later years became a member of Greater Faith Community Church for many years, where she was a strong yet humble steward for the lord. She was a sought after speaker, Sunday school teacher, and up until she wasn’t able to, she wrote a column in the church bulletin called “Mama Lillie's Corner.”
Left to cherish her memories are four daughters, Mary Helen Reed (Allen J.) of Wichita Falls, Brenda E. Skinner of Brownwood, Michelle McDowell of Brownwood, and Aleta Lowe (Charles) of Brownwood; sons, James Bagley (Janet) of Brownwood and Michael Lawton (Mary) of Austin; 19 grandchildren; 39 great-grandchildren; numerous great-great-grandchildren; and a host of extended family and many friends.
Mama Lille was preceded in death by husband, James T. Lawton; parents, Benjamin Thomas Sr. and Mary E. Carter; daughter, Malinda J. Wright; and two brothers, Benjamin Thomas Jr., and Parker D. Carter.