Olivia Lawrence Bennett, 94, went to be with her Lord and Savior on May 24, 2014. She was born July 18, 1919 in Baldwin County to Paul Nesbitt Lawrence and Sarah Buckner Lawrence. On Feb. 4, 1944 she married Valene Bennett of Alma. She was a member of First Baptist Church and Joy Sunday School Class.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Valene Bennett; (brother) Nesbitt Lawrence; (sisters) Mildred (Tillie) Sparrow and Agnes Hardy; (step-sons) Harry Keith Bennett, Sr. and Larry Bennett; (grandsons) Dane and Jeff Bennett, and great grandson, Bennett Jones Hudson.
Bennett is survived by two sons, Lawrence Bennett (Joyce) and Paul Thomas Bennett (Holly) of Alma; a sister, Juanita Hawkins (Wallace) of McDonough; a brother-in-law, T. F. Hardy of Perry; a daughter-in-law, Lillian Bennett Johnson of Alma; 11 grandchildren, Lorie Hyers (Jimmy), Dottie Sommers, Pam Vonier (Chuck), Deanna Sears (Devin) Mandy Lee (Dave), Thomas Valene Bennett, Olivia Bennett Hudson (Andrew), Matthew Wood (Reagan), Harry Keith Bennett, Jr. (Clydia), John Bennett (Rhonda), Holly Porter (Bruce) and 19 great-grandchildren.
Bennett graduated as Valedictorian from Peabody High School in Milledgeville in 1937 and Georgia College for Women in Milledgeville in 1939. She was one of the first female Bank Presidents in Georgia serving as President of Alma Exchange Bank and retired Chairman of the Board of People’s State Bank, Baxley, People’s Bank, Lyons; and Citizens State Bank Kingsland, Alma Exchange Bank of Alma, She retired from banking at 90 years young!
She also served as director for South Banking Co., and Bankers Data Service.
Bennett was also active in local civic organizations and across Georgia. She was a member of the Foundation Board at Georgia College-Milledgeville, served as a board member for Magnolia House Shelter for abused women and children. Member of Alma Chapter 324 order of the Eastern Star, Alma Garden Club, Past President of PTA and Home Demonstration Club, Cancer Society and American Heart Association.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, May 27, at 11:00 a.m. at Alma First Baptist Church with the Rev. Richard Johnson officiating and eulogy given by Lillian Johnson. The body was carried to the church at 10:00 a.m. to lie in state. Interment followed in Big Creek Church Cemetery. The family received friends at the funeral home Monday afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Active pallbearers were Thomas Bennett, Matt Wood, Keith Bennett, John Bennett, Jimmy Hyers, Devin Sears, Dave Lee and Chuck Vonier.
Honorary pallbearers were Joy Sunday School Class, Directors of Alma Exchange Bank, Peoples State Bank of Baxley, Bankers Data Services, Directors of Peoples Bank of Lyons, Directors of Citizens State Bank of Kingsland, Directors of Pineland State Bank of Metter, Lawerence Osburn, Wayne Hall and Clyde Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund 201 North Church St. Alma, GA. 31510.
Crosby Funeral Home of Alma was in charge of arrangements.