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Cortez Hicks Laurence (04-20-2017)
Funeral services for Cortez Hicks Laurence, 99, of
Bernice, were held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at
Shiloh Baptist Church in Bernice. Officiating was Rev.
Mike Fletcher and Rev. Scott Fletcher. Interment followed
at Bernice City Cemetery under the direction of Kilpatrick
Funeral Home of Ruston. Visitation will be held from 3-7
p.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Kilpatrick Funeral Home
in Ruston.
Mrs. Laurence died Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Ruston
at Northern Louisiana Medical Center. She was the only
child of Grover Culberson and Annie Elizabeth Williams
Hicks of Bernice. Cortez was born February 18, 1918 in
Dubach and moved to Bernice with her family at nine
months of age. She resided in Bernice her whole life
except when she attended college, during World War II
when she accompanied her husband on his assignments
to various military posts, and this past year at an assisted
living home. When her husband was overseas, she was a
freshman girls’ dormitory counselor at Louisiana Tech.
She was Miss Bernice and after graduating from Bernice
High School in 1934, she attended Belhaven Women’s
College in Brookhaven, Miss. and Louisiana College in
Pineville. In the fall of her junior year, October 1936, she
married Wick Laurence Jr., also of Bernice, who was a
senior at Atlanta Southern Dental College, later Emory
University. After his graduation, they returned to Bernice,
where he began his dental practice.
Cortez was active in the Bernice Garden Club, Bernice
Civic Club, Bernice High School PTA, holding offices
in each organization. She took great joy in supporting
youth organizations, and as a member of the First Baptist
Church in Bernice, she taught the youth Sunday School
class. She served as an advisor to the Louisiana Junior
Hereford Association and the American Junior Hereford
Association. She and Dr. Laurence were avid supporters
and sponsors of the Union Parish 4-H Club and Dixie
Youth Baseball League in Bernice. For several summers,
she drove team members to Houston to see the Astros play.
Throughout her life, baseball was a special interest. She
attended games in her younger years and later in life, she
avidly watched her favorite players and teams, the Atlanta
Braves and Texas Rangers.
For 42 years, she was on the Board of Directors of the
Union Parish Library and was president for several years.
She devoted much time and effort to the growth and promotion
of the library and its facilities.
Over the years, Mrs. Laurence held memberships in
the American Hereford Association, the American Jersey
Association and the Louisiana Forestry Association. Mrs.
Laurence was an accomplished judge of cattle and horses.
Until her death, she quoted the description of every piece
of land she owned. Her memory was remarkable.
When her mother died in 1957, she and her father
managed Hick’s Store for seven years, until they closed
it so that she could be more readily available for her
daughter’s various school and organization events prior
to Margeann’s graduation.
She was a member of the Bernice Historical Association.
Genealogy was a favorite pastime, and living in Bernice
all her life she knew many families in the area and
loved helping their descendants trace their roots.
Recently, she made a 10-year donation to the Union
Youth Livestock Council, which will support 4-H Livestock
exhibitors in the parish. The donation honored the
assistant county agent during the years her daughter
was in 4-H.
Mrs. Laurence is preceded in death by: Her parents;
and her husband of 62 years and 11 months, Dr. M. Wick
Laurence, Jr.
She is survived by: Her daughter, Margeann L. Warden
and husband Henry “Hank” Warden; a grandson, Robert
Wickliffe “Wick” Warden and wife Kristin; and granddaughter,
Amelia Marie “Millie Marie” Warden; and five
great-granddaughters – Adelaide, Keturah, Madeline,
Katherine and Deborah Warden. She adored her family
and always looked forward to seeing them, especially the
Pallbearers were Larry Pixley, Dr. Hoye Grafton, Dr.
Warren Grafton, John Cook, Gary Patterson, Jarod Patterson
and Jace Patterson. Honorary pallbearers were
Mayor William C. “Bill” Mitcham, Cal Colvin, David
Hedgepeth, Lue Charles Napper, Johnny Buckley, Johnny
Gilfoil, W.W. “Bud” Farrar, Jr., Simon Pearson, Charles
L. Fields, Crawford L. Fields, Richard “Dicky” Heard, Dr.
Steve Heard and Robert P. “Buddy” Heard.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Shiloh
Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 12841 Highway 2, Bernice,
LA 71222 or Union Youth Livestock Council, PO Box 6,
Farmerville, LA 71241.
Thank you to Crawford Fields and Dora Findley for
their many years of attentiveness to Miss Cortez. The
family would like to thank Dr. Paul Rushing, nurses
Sandy and Angelia and Dr. Robert Massingill and nurses
Dianthia and Cheryl at Christus-Schumpert Highland in
Shreveport for the care given to Mrs. Laurence all these
years, as well as, Dr. Tommy Smith and the third-floor
nursing staff at Northern Louisiana Medical Center in
A very special thank you to Miss Cortez’s sitters, Margaret
Archie, LaTaria Brown, Margeoal Gray, Shardae
Lewis, Shady Simms, and Deandria Williams for the
wonderful care each of them gave to Miss Cortez.
Condolences may be left in Cortez’s online guestbook