10:30 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church (676 North Gibbs St, Pomona, CA).
In her memoir, A Good, Long Life, Anna Mae (Masie) Sheakley Lawrence writes: “I entered this big, wide, wonderful world on July 24th, 1922, my father’s 21st birthday—at home on a small farm in St. Petersburg, Pennsylvania.”
True to form, she left this big, wide, wonderful world 94 years later—on December 4th, 2016, her son’s birthday, in the Upland home where she created countless beautiful memories.
Masie will be remembered for so many things. She had a sharp, disciplined mind that, as a young woman growing up in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, earned her a top spot on the honor roll and a perfect attendance record through all 12 years of school. She had a passion for caregiving, which called her to a career in nursing and led to over 30 years of service at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where she was a well-respected nurse supervisor.
She felt a duty to serve, which inspired her to enlist in the Navy Nurse Corps during WWII, where she cared for young men who were injured in the European Theatre. And she had a sense of adventure that, in 1946, compelled her to respond “yes” to a telegram from her dear friend Louise, inviting her to join a new clinic in Pomona—what she called “the most sensible decision in [her] young life.”
There, she lived with her best friends—Louise, Maxine, and Murine (the “fab foursome”)—until a handsome young man named Willis came to the clinic for his allergies. She made sure to be his nurse, and essentially never left his side again. They were married on May 22, 1948.
In their 64 beautiful years together, until his passing in 2013, she and her “sweetie” had four wonderful kids—Bob, Bill, Dave, and Lynda. As a young family, they enjoyed summer swim lessons, Scout camp, and little league—and cherished their vacations together, including a trip to Yellowstone National Park and a ride on the Super Chief Railroad to pick up their new car from the factory in Wisconsin.
In retirement, Masie and Willis traveled all over the globe—from Alaska to New Zealand to the Panama Canal. One of their biggest adventures was joining 26 other couples on a European car tour in their 1931 Model A Tudor, which Willis restored and christened “Reborn A.” Masie even came to Mammoth Lakes for the annual summer trip at Christopher cabin, catching fish with her Snoopy pole and keeping the family well fed by the campfire.
Throughout her life, Masie found great strength in her faith, and remained an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church, first as a young “20 Up” and later as part of the United Methodist Women’s Organization.
Masie was also known for her impeccable memory—one that never forgot a birthday or anniversary. She always had the perfect anecdote to share, and charmed everyone with her infectious giggle. If you asked how she was doing, she’d say, “Well, I’m as old as the hills, but I’m staying out of trouble.” And she had the biggest heart—so strong it kept her going for almost a century.
Yet of everything she accomplished in that long life, Masie hoped to be remembered for her greatest pride—her family: 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. In her final months, as she reflected on all 94 years, she said, “I’m overwhelmed by the life I’ve had. I have been so richly blessed.”
But it was we who were truly blessed. Anna Mae Sheakley Lawrence was a prime example of what a good, long life can be—and she left a legacy of love that will live on in everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.
She will be deeply missed.