Lawrence Everett Charity

SOUTH KENT — Lawrence Everett Charity, 83, of South Kent, died at his home in the arms of his beloved wife, Suzanne, in the early morning hours of June 2, 2019. His sudden death from respiratory failure resulted from complications of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Lawrence was born in Washington, D.C., to Alexander and Matilda Charity on June 21, 1935. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (1957) with a degree in Interior Architecture and received an MFA in Industrial Design from The Cranbrook Academy of Art (1958) in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He was the first African American student to be admitted to that prestigious institution, whose charter had previously prevented enrollment of African Americans. He would go on to become an award-winning interior architect and industrial designer and a member of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA), whose work was published in Interior Design, The New York Times Magazine and other selective publications.

After being drafted and serving in the U.S. Army, Lawrence began his career at the renowned architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill before establishing his own design firms, Sewell & Charity and, later, Interiors Concepts, both in New York City. 

His work on corporate, retail, cultural, educational and residential projects bespoke a nuanced gift for finding inspired, uniquely simple solutions to the challenges of designing spaces and objects for living that enchanted him for over 60 years. His passion for design was also evident in his avid collection of art and artifacts spanning numerous periods and styles.

Lawrence was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather and was the very embodiment of grace and authenticity. His calm presence, meticulous attention to detail, deep appreciation of beauty in its simplest forms, gentle touch  and quietly enchanting smile were cherished gifts to those who knew him.

Along with his wife, Suzanne, with whom he shared over 50 years, he is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Danika Charity of Los Angeles, and his daughter and son-in-law, Danika and Alex Bjelica of Sacramento, Calif. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Miles and Louella Charity and Jasper and Anton Bjelica, and by his nephew, Paul Charity. 

Lawrence was predeceased by his brother, Melvin, who died in 1982; and a sister who died in infancy.

A reception will be held in Lawrence’s honor on Saturday, Aug. 24 for friends and family at the home he designed and loved in South Kent.

For those who wish to make a lasting tribute to Lawrence, donations may be made in his name to the Tucker Mountain Town Forest Fund, P.O. Box 126, Newbury, VT 05051, which will be used to help improve much-needed public access to a very special place beloved by him and his family.