Obituary: Mary Nan Lemons
Mary Nan Lemons, lifelong advocate and woman of courageous compassion, departed this life on December 4, 2012.
Nan was co-owner of the popular Cooper-Young business Lavender Earth, and was a Cooper-Young resident for many years. She loved this neighborhood and it loved her.
After a childhood in north Mississippi, France and upstate New York, Nan showed her trademark courage and determination early in life fighting for voting rights in rural Mississippi. With interests in engineering and creative problem solving, Nan’s brilliant mind led her to blaze trails as a chemist and early computer science specialist in Houston when it was unusual for women to do so.
Eventually her consuming interest in the welfare of others propelled her to get her degree in social work at the University of Memphis. She continued her advocacy for women, for seniors, and for people with disabilities throughout her life.
Nan was also a resourceful and energetic entrepreneur, organizing women’s music and cultural events and two businesses (art gallery Pieces of Color and the highly-regarded garden shop Lavender Earth) with her life partner Patty Crawford.
Nan was a loving and devoted caregiver both for her own mother and for Patty’s mother. She was also a loyal and generous friend and mentor to many, and was highly regarded for her community service work, especially in the lesbian and twelve step community.
Nan loved to create and fix things with her hands — flower arrangements, bookshelves, cars. She loved to read, to do online research, to play cards with her many friends, and to walk in the woods and watch the birds with her partner Patty and their beloved dogs.
Nan had a strong faith in God and in the the sustaining power of love and relationships.. She was predeceased by her mother, Audrey Faye, and by her brother, Ray, and is survived by Patty Crawford, her loving life partner of 29 years. She is also remembered by her uncle W C (Debbie), by her brothers and sisters (Johnny, Debbie, Charles, Gloria, Sheila, Sherry, Jimmy and Linda) and other extended family, by her faith community, and by a large extended family of friends.
A memorial and celebration of the life of Mary Nan Lemons will be held at 4 PM on Tuesday, December 11 at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN with interment of cremains at the columbarium there. In tribute to Nan’s life, donations can be made to the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Grace-St Luke’s Episcopal Church or the Center for Advanced Liver Diseases.