Teeny Lassiter (Mary Edna Buchanan Lassiter) died peacefully at her Elder Mountain home on May 7, 2023, at the age of 96.
Teeny was born on November 30, 1926 in Anniston, Alabama, the youngest child of the late Sara Graham Buchanan and Charles Lee (“C.L.”) Buchanan.
The Buchanan family moved to Chattanooga and lived in Shepherd Hills. Teeny attended the Missionary Ridge School and became a baptized member of the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga. She was a life-long believer in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
She survived the years of the Great Depression and then World War II with optimism, generosity, joy, and creativity - character traits that would carry throughout her long life.
Teeny graduated from The Girls Preparatory School, class of 1944. She was a graduate of Averett College in Danville, Virginia where she served as Yearbook Editor. She went on to attend the University of Chattanooga to study Early Childhood Education. She was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority and made her debut at the Chattanooga Cotton Ball.
On June 9, 1950, she became the bride of Lawrence Hassell Lassiter, a graduate of The McCallie School, Vanderbilt University, and a World War II veteran. Together, they moved to Nashville where Lawrence attended Medical School at Vanderbilt University and where Teeny taught first grade. When Lawrence accepted a residency in ophthalmology at St. Luke’s Hospital of Chicago, the couple moved to Illinois. Teeny became a member of The Junior League of Chicago. Daughters Charlotte and Lynn were born to the couple while in Illinois.
Teeny and Lawrence returned to Chattanooga where Lawrence established a practice in ophthalmology and where son Charles (Bud) was soon born. Teeny continued her membership in The Junior League and joined The Junior League Garden Club. She was a devoted gardener throughout her life, was a member of The American Rose Society, and enjoyed an unforgettable trip to The Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in London, England in 1994.
Lawrence and Teeny joined The First Presbyterian Church where they became devoted friends of Pastor Ben Haden and his wife, Charlyne. Teeny served on the World Missions committee and was a host and benefactor for decades for Christian missionaries. She was a dedicated member of the Women of the Church. In addition, her beautiful decorations for Christmas, Easter, and many weddings were a blessing to generations of members of the church.
Teeny served as a board member of The Children’s Home of Chattanooga and was an advocate for orphaned and disadvantaged children. She enjoyed her membership in The Daughters of the American Revolution and was an enthusiastic patriot and student of American history. She was a member of The Medical Auxiliary of Chattanooga.
Teeny’s most important membership was in the very informal organization known as The Sewing Club. Formed originally for its members to complete needlework projects, the group devolved into a fun-loving social circle that included Kitty Stone, Jeanne Evans, Betsy Anderson, Charlyne Haden, Betty Davis, Virginia Lee, Dudley Leslie, Donna Durand, and others throughout the years. Together they made trips to Naples, Hilton Head, and the mountains of North Carolina and never missed an opportunity to celebrate one another’s birthdays, anniversaries, or new grandbabies. Teeny was the last survivor of The Sewing Club.
Teeny had the gift of hospitality and hosted unforgettable parties for debutantes, brides to be, birthdays, and her favorite holiday, July 4th. She loved poetry and could recall from memory passages ranging from James Whitcomb Riley to William Shakespeare. She was notorious for exceeding the speed limit wherever she went and was infamous for talking her way out of speeding tickets. She was a snow skier, an avid antiques collector, a Rose Medallion China enthusiast, and a treasured and loyal friend, especially to her hairdresser, Peggy Hedrick, and her long-time housekeeper, Maggie Espey. She was a prolific Christmas decorator, creating themed displays for Lawrence’s medical office each year. She celebrated life and loved others with great joy, irrepressible enthusiasm, and tremendous generosity. She was committed in a practical way to living out her faith by being the hands and feet of Christ.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Sara Graham Buchanan and Charles Lee Buchanan; her siblings, Sara Lee Buchanan Red and Charles Graham Buchanan; her husband, Lawrence Hassell Lassiter; and her grandson, William Brooks McNally. Teeny is survived by her daughter, Charlotte Lassiter McNally (Peter) of Atlanta; her daughter, Lynn Lassiter Kendrick (Scott) of Nashville; her son, Charles Lee Lawrence Lassiter of Chattanooga; granddaughter, Virginia McNally Garrison (Coy) of Washington, D.C.; grandson, Benjamin James McNally of Austin, Texas; nephew, Bob Red (Debbie); nieces, Jane Red Knox (Neil); Anne Red Sumner (Randy); Michelle Buchanan Sneed; and Deanne Buchanan Maywhort.
Services will be held Tuesday, May 16, at The First Presbyterian Church, 554 McCallie Ave. Visitation 1pm - 2pm; Funeral 2pm - 3 pm. Interment will follow at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to The First Presbyterian Church, 554 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37402.
Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home and Crematory, Battlefield Parkway.