Silvi Lawrence, 81, of State College, died on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at her home.
She was born July 10, 1939 in Narva, Estonia, a daughter of the late Eric and Bertha Tursamae.
Silvi was a true immigrant success story. She came to the United States at five years old. Silvi grew up in a working-class family and would go on to graduate from Penn State University with a degree in architecture, all while raising her two children.
A founding member of SOHO Artists Association she was instrumental in creating a district for artist housing. The SOHO neighborhood in NY became one of the most well-known artist communities in the United States.
She was a long-time employee of the Office of Physical Plant at PSU. Her numerous projects included construction of the Lash building, Rogers Family Trading Room, and multiple other projects on campus. She helped renovate President Jordan’s house on campus and was hired by the Jordan’s to work on their private home in Austin, Texas.
After retiring from PSU, Silvi served on the State College borough council from 1994-2017. At the time of her passing she was also training to become a docent at the Palmer Museum of Art.
She traveled extensively throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Silvi enjoyed cooking, her garden and entertaining friends at home. Her great sense of humor and wonderful laugh brought joy to her friends and family.
Surviving are her children, Lou Pruitt, of New Jersey and Riima Pruitt, of Long Island.
A memorial will be held privately at the convenience of the family.
The family is being assisted by Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, South Second and St. Louis Streets, Lewisburg.
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