Hildred Lewis was still a work in progress when she died
Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Hildred H. Lewis when she died Easter Sunday at the age of 93 was not only the oldest, but the longest-living resident on Cottage Avenue. Hildred was one of three daughters of the late Dave and Rose Bradshaw Frazier. Her father for many years operated Frazier’s Market in downtown Elizabethton, and she enjoyed sharing stories with friends from her growing-up years and school days in Elizabethton.
In fact, she had high school classmates she still kept in touch with. and just a few weeks before her death was trying to locate one in the state of Washington, whom she felt had gone to a nursing home.
Hildred grew up on Broad Street and witnessed a lot of changes in Elizabethton. She had lived on Cottage Avenue for more than 70 years and remembered when there were no restaurants or fast food stores on Broad Street.
Hildred was a remarkable woman, who had defied death, when in 2008 while unloading groceries from her parked car across the street from Courtyard Apartment was hit by a truck and knocked into the trunk of her car. She suffered numerous injuries, including several broken bones. Hildred spent weeks in local and area hospitals before being moved to Pine Ridge Health Care and Rehab Center (now Signature). “Doctors had given up on me and I was moved there to die, but the staff there somehow knew God wasn’t finished with me and began working with me to get me back on my feet. They removed my feeding tube and began feeding me real food. The therapist began massaging my legs and soon I was sitting and then standing and after a while, I was taking steps,” Hildred shared in a newspaper article on her release from the nursing home.
She was able to return to her home after almost a year in the hospital and the nursing home, and soon thereafter purchased a car, and returned to attending church and later to her normal chores. She could be seen walking with a cane each evening out Cottage Avenue, down Race Street, and back up Pine Street. It became a daily routine for Hildred, who was in her early 80s at the time.
Hildred retired from the Raytheon Corporation after 38 years of service. Much of her retirement was spent as a volunteer at Sycamore Shoals Hospital. She enjoyed volunteering at the hospital and the ladies she volunteered with. “Some of them became my dearest friends” she once shared.
Hildred was a very gracious woman, who during the time I knew her rarely said an unkind word about anyone. A friend from church wrote on the funeral home guest book: “What a great prayer warrior Hildred was…a wonderful Christian lady that always put others first.”
For the past few years because of recurring health issues, Hildred was unable to attend church, but her church at First Free Will Baptist and its members held a special place in her heart. Each week, Sunday School secretary JoAnn Campbell sent her a church bulletin, which she looked forward to receiving and reading.
During the week, she attended church on “TV” as she referred to it. She listed to TV preachers like Charles Stanley, Dr. David Jeremiah, and she enjoyed the Gaithers’ musical program.
Her Bible had a prominent place on the coffee table in front of her sofa…and tucked inside the covers or laying on top of it was a prayer list, which she kept up to date and if you visited, she would inquire about the people on the list.
Hildred was a quiet person, who didn’t have a lot to say. But her actions spoke loudly about her faith and love for the Lord.
When she was able, Hildred enjoyed gardening and raising flowers. But her favorite thing to do was to cook for her family. “She enjoyed family gatherings and cooking for us,” said her daughter-in-law, Margaret. “She was a good cook and could make a tasty meal out of nothing, and every day Hildred got up and dressed as if she was going out. She wanted to always look good.”
Hildred’s only child, Steve, died in December 2019. Her only survivors were her daughter-in-law, Margaret; two grandsons, Stevie and Shane; and four great-grandchildren. However, she had a multitude of friends, who endeared themselves to her.
Until the day she died, she was always concerned about others and the need to leave the hospital and get back home to take care of some simple tasks.
Hildred was laid to rest on April 8 in the Highland Cemetery. She wanted no flowers – only that those who wished to buy flowers do something to help a needy family. That was so much like Hildred Lewis.
I’m glad our paths crossed in life. What an encourager she was. She was still a work in progress.