My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalms 73:26)
During the late evening hours on October 4, 2020, our beloved father, husband, brother, leader, best friend, and so much more to so many more, lifted his eyes towards the sky and said O Lord for I am yours. And so, his journey in eternal life began.
Lawrence Wesley Stokes Sr., a native of Nottoway Virginia was born on January 16th, 1937 to the late Lucille Stokes and Henry “Butch” Jackson. He was reared by his mother who worked as a domestic and grandmother, Hannah Stokes of Crewe Virginia. Lawrence was one of twelve children. He was loved by eight sisters (Mary Bradley, Mary Arrington, Adele Allen, Ruth Jackson, Gladys Gamble, Juanita McCormick, Deborah Jackson) and four brothers (Wardle Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Raymond Jackson, and Reginald Jackson). The abundance of love didn’t stop there, he also had many nephews, nieces, and close friends, that instilled love, integrity, and solid core family values that have transcended through generations.
Lawrence attended Mount Zion Schoolhouse for his traditional studies. He later completed his studies at Nottoway Training School before entering the Navy on January 18th, 1955. Shortly after being Honorably discharged in March of 1956, he was united in marriage to Odell Robertson Stokes on November 3rd, 1956. Their union blessed them with five children. Four sons (Lawrence Stokes Jr., Kenneth Stokes, Dennis Stokes, and Michael Stokes) and one daughter (Vanessa Brooks). After many travels the young couple decided to set roots down in Woodbridge Virginia. They worked tirelessly to provide a sustainable life for their growing family. Lawrence decided to step out on his own apart from his Uncle’s painting company (Stokes Painting) to start his own company called Lawrence Painting Company. After several years of watching their young family grow to adults before their eyes, they set their sights on warmer days in Tampa Florida. There he became Project Manager of ABM (American Building Maintenance). While he flourished there, his wife Odell Robertson Stokes, was fighting breast cancer. She would end up succumbing to the disease after 35 years of marriage.
Lawrence soon retired and remarried again to Paulette Coffee, of Florida on May 28th, 2000. From this union Lawrence gained a second daughter (Nikea Coffee) and a stepfather (Lemuiel Kimbrough). Lawrence was able to find the warm embrace of love and companionship again. Paulette worked at Burdines, now Macy’s, for 25 years before retiring to enjoy endless days and nights in each other’s company and travels around the world. Lawrence and Paulette built a home for themselves in Hudson Florida and enjoyed attending their local church New Hope Missionary Baptist Church with Pastor Freddie Hinson Jr. She remained by his side until the good Lord called him home.
Lawrence leaves to cherish his precious memory of his love and caring to his devoted wife, Paulette Coffee Stokes, two daughters (Vanessa Brooks and Nikea Coffee), four sons (Larry Jr., Dennis, Kenneth, and Michael Stokes), two son in-laws (Leon Brooks and Kerry Stokes) one daughter in-law (Racquelle “Toni” Stokes), eleven grandchildren (Tiffany, Chris, Valencia, Brook, Miles, Tiffany S, Natalie, Nicole, Nehemiah, Kenneth Jr., Dominick) fifteen great grandchildren ( Brianna, Christian, Kaylea, Alexis, Trevonne, Malachi, Angelique, Kevin, Kendra, Andrianna, Christopher Jr., Makenzi, Maddox, Zoey, and Wayne), Mother-in-law Pearl Coffee, Sister-in-laws: Erma Coffee, Shirley Singleton, and finally two great great grandchildren (Isaiah, and Hendrix). From this, his memory will continue for generations to come.
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