A Life Lived: Nellie Lewis’ smile, kindness made a lasting impression

Published 1:29 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
Someone once said “A smile is happiness you’ll fight right under your nose.”
Nellie Lewis was 93 years old when she died March 25. She had only been at Ivy Hall Nursing Home for four days when she died, but it was enough to make an impression on one of her caregivers. “She had the sweetest smile, a smile that left an imprint on your heart,” the caregiver shared.
Nellie was a hard worker all her life. “She never had a job that paid a lot of money, but she enjoyed giving of her time and doing for others,” said her daughter, Judy Williams.
Nellie lived in a large six-bedroom house that her father, Charles White, had built. She and her husband, Herman, raised three daughters. At the time of her death, Nellie was the oldest member of Union Hill Free Will Baptist Church. Some of Judy’s sweetest memories of her mother is her helping with Vacation Bible School at Union Hill when she and her sisters were attending. “That was when you were served kool aid and cookies for refreshments, and it was a real treat,” said Judy.
“When we were in school, she was involved with the PTA. She also helped with the March of Dimes, and she enjoyed helping her neighbors. She often sit with the sick and took them to the doctor,” Judy shared.
From time to time Nellie worked outside the home. She worked some for Sonny Fletcher at his store and for Herb Colbaugh at his restaurant, making roast beef sandwiches. “She could sew and one year at Easter made Preacher Jonas Revis’ wife a dress.
“Our friends enjoyed coming home with us and visiting. They loved Mama’s pimento cheese sandwiches and pecan tarts as well as her biscuits and gravy and fresh apple pie. She was a wonderful cook and enjoyed not only cooking for her family but for her church friends and neighbors,” said Judy. Her go-to dish when anyone died in the church or community was macaroni and cheese. “Her dish was always the first one empty,” Judy said with pride.
“Mama enjoyed life. She enjoyed her family and friends. But, I would have to say her favorite thing to do was going on bus trips. She went with Fellowship Tours to Hawaii. Among the other places she had been were to Niagara Falls and to Amish country in Pennsylvania. She made a lot of friends on those trips,” her daughter said.
Nellie’s activities were curtailed some when she broke a hip in 2020. It was hard for her, because she didn’t know how to be still. She was used to going and doing — gardening, working in her yard, and doing for others,” said Judy.
In addition to her three daughters, which included Judy, Linda Lewis, and Sherry Peters, Nellie had two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
On the day of Nellie’s graveside service, her family opened up her home for a meal and visitation. “It was something I think she would have liked,” said Judy.
Nellie Lewis left her family and friends with some wonderful memories, among them her love, kindness, and a smile that will be long remembered.

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