Laurie Queen Obituary (2021) – Greensboro, NC

Queen, Laurie William Simon

They say that when you write about grief, use short, concise sentences. With this in mind, Greensboro fashion icon Laurie William Simon Queen died peacefully in her sleep at the home of her demise on Wednesday morning, August 4, 2021.

The late William and Athena Simon, born in Greensboro, NC to their Lebanese immigrant parents, opened a small clothing store at 530 S. Elm St. in 1944 and named it Laurie’s after their only daughter. The business flourished and in 1957 Laurie and her brothers Marshall W. Simon and Edward W. Simon Laurie’s moved from the S. Elm St. location to become the first fashion retailer to anchor the brand new Friendly Shopping Center. In the early 1970s, the store made its final move just one block around the corner from the shopping block and into a huge 16,000 square foot retail space that now houses Harper’s Restaurant. The store further expanded its retail operations to include the Northeast Shopping Center, Forum VI, and Carolina Circle Mall. Separately, her eldest brother Fred W. Simon opened and ran a Laurie’s in downtown Reidsville, NC. Leading the way long before terms like “feminist” were introduced – in an area that was male dominated in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s – Laurie made sure that women she saw potential had their goals pursued. She was in New York City to go shopping every six weeks, walked Seventh Avenue and the back streets, met all the fashion houses and buying offices of the time, to choose for herself what was on sale in the store in the south. She often had to defeat male egos along the way, but always got the best deals on the finest clothing possible. Not only was Laurie’s a high-end womenswear store, but the staff who worked there aimed to guide their customers to the most elegant options to help shape the events they were supposed to attend, both for the business and the world also for the family, and Laurie herself – she wanted to direct these short films – the salespeople, the supporting actors – in which these special memories for the customer – the real stars of the film – were to be underlined, against whose experiences the screen of hers later had an effect Life.

In 1986, the four siblings decided it was time to step back and try to achieve the things they still wanted to do in the later stages of their respective lives. Selling Laurie’s big press in national magazines like Women’s Wear Daily. Following her retirement, Laurie traveled extensively across Europe with her beloved husband, Lawrence (Larry) T. Queen, a retired veteran journalist from North Carolina. Laurie’s capacity for compassion and empathy was as great as she noted in her diary: “The cathedrals of Europe were the palaces of the poor” – where men and women could gather every day, exalted as kings, queens, dukes and duchesses of their spiritual domain and behave with dignity. Laurie was a woman with a strong religious conviction, but her spirituality was not a weapon but a framework of philosophies put together to live as best as possible while being closest to the love that Jesus Christ taught. She had no desire to be “born again”. “Once was enough,” she said routinely and with a lot of cheerfulness and humor. When she got back to the states she saw an injustice that needed to be addressed, so she volunteered to review conditions in nursing homes across the state of North Carolina and devoted nearly twenty years to making sure that Residents in facilities across the state had access to adequate health care, clean living conditions, and were treated with respect and dignity in every home. But most importantly, her love for Christ was as pure as we can ever see her. She hid behind nothing in a judgment. She reached out to people – the sinner – to lift them up and remind them that they are loved unconditionally, which is why it must be said that she was the most Christ-like person people will ever know. Laurie was led to her death by her husband Lawrence T. Queen Jr., brothers Eddie W. Simon, Marshall W. Simon, and Fred Simon. She leaves behind her only son Lawrence (Larry) William Queen and her nieces and nephews Laurie Simon Burke, Karen Michelle Simon Furman, Lois Williams Simon, Mary Shakro and her husband Phillip, Freddy Simon and Marshall Simon. In addition, many loving great-nieces and nephews and valued friends survive.

Laurie’s memorial service will be held on Monday, August 16, 2021 at St. Andrew’s Episcopalian Church, 2105 West Market St., at 11 a.m. for an outdoor service in front of the church, followed by the end of the service at the grave in Green Hill Graveyard.

Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel supports the Queen family with arrangements. Online condolences can be found at

Published by Greensboro News & Record on August 8, 2021.

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