Wilhelmenia (Bankhead) Lawrence

June 9, 1938 ~ January 30, 2022 (age 83)


Mrs. Wilhelmenia Lawrence, 83, of 2225 Jim McCarter Road, York, SC, passed away Sunday, January 30, 2022 at Atrium Health Pineville.  She was born June 9, 1938 in Hickory Grove, SC.

Funeral services will be Graveside, 1:00 pm, Saturday, February 5, 2022 at Gold Hill Baptist Church in York, SC.  Burial will immediately follow the service. Mrs. Lawrence may be viewed from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Friday, February 4th at the funeral home.

Born June 9, 1938 to Maude Thomas and Ernest Felix Bankhead, Wilhelmenia Bankhead Lawrence came into this world with a purpose to make joy in change. Her name means Little Protector and she lived up to her name in all her activities. As a teacher, she protected minds and future of the youth; as a farmer, she protected animals, food and flowers; as a mother and wife, she protected life and love.

Born to a family of sharecroppers, her first classroom was the farm. While following in her grandfather’s footsteps as he plowed the field, she learned the lessons that will influence her ethic, dreams, and lifestyle. Wilhelmenia attended a one room school named Rosenwald School in York, SC and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1956. She went on to attended Claflin College and graduated from Winthrop College in 1976 with a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She taught Second Grade in Clover before being employed by Gaston County Schools as a Math/ Science teacher for the Sixth and Seventh Grades. Wilhelmenia continued her studies at North Carolina Institutes of Learning earning a Master in Education degree. She went on to teach middle school at Ashley Junior High, York Chester Middle, Lingerfeldt Middle, and Cramerton Middle Schools. As a true jack of all trades, she taught math, science, language arts, and social studies where she inspired curiosity, encouraged self-respect and developed a lifelong love for learning in all those she interacted with. In 1987, she was elected Teacher of the Year at Ashley Junior High and at the County level. With all her achievements, too numerous to name here, the greatest of these was growth of her family.

As a developing woman, she dedicated herself to learning and loving her family and was commonly known as the family historian until this day. She married Charlie James Lawrence on December 25th, 1958 and was a loving wife for 48 beautiful years. They brought two children into this world Gregory Charles Lawrence and Jennifer Merle Lawrence and raised them to be compassionate, industrious, and intelligent individuals. During these memorable years she kept a bountiful garden, collected and tried all the recipes she could find, canned her fruits and vegetables, made clothes and knitted scarves, built lasting friendships with neighbors, and saw the beauty and value in many yard sale items. Her true nature was to see the value in the seed, small things, and the forgotten and bring them all to God’s glory.

Raised on the words of the Bible and the ways of the Lord, the church work was the stronghold of her life. She sang in the choir, has served as Youth Director, Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, church secretary, Trustee, ministry of recognition, vacation bible school director, and Gold Hill’s delegates for local and national conferences. She is a certified deaconess and wedding consultant which she enjoyed even in her late years planning her oldest granddaughter’s wedding. She was a true missionary and gave her many talents to the Lord with all her heart.      

Today she is preceded in heaven by her Husband, Charlie James Lawrence, Granddaughter Krystal Pinson; her father Ernest Felix Bankhead, mother Maude T. Bankhead Arnold; sisters Mildred “Lokie” Jones, Margaret Jones, Vivian Carolyn Vaughn, Evelyn Glenn; brother Billy Bankhead; and sister-in-law Nell Lawrence.

She is survived by her two children Gregory Lawrence and Jennifer L. Pinson (Willie); three grandchildren Chenita Graham (Lonnie), William Zachary Pinson and Kayla Pinson; two great-grandchildren Maliah and Elijah Graham; her siblings Betty T. Rawlinson, Quincy B. Starnes, Ernestine B. Ritchie, Doris B. Wilkins (David), MC “Billy” Arnold, Robert “Bobby” Arnold, Ernest Felix Bankhead Jr. (Ethel); sisters-in-law Fannie Davis, Mae Era Montgomery, and Joann Lowry; brother-in-law, Donald Lawrence. She also leaves a host of nieces and nephews and cousins.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wilhelmenia (Bankhead) Lawrence, please visit our floral store.


Open Viewing
February 4, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Wright Funeral Home
301 E Liberty St
York, SC 29745

Graveside Service
February 5, 2022

1:00 PM
Gold Hill Baptist Church, SC

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