FOUNTAIN -Mary Lena Lewis Cole, 95, died peacefully in her home on August 2, 2014 on Cole's Mill Road in Fountain, NC.
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She was born September 23, 1918 in Eagle Springs, NC to Willie Thomas Lewis and Margaret Monroe Lewis. She was a 1936 graduate of Elise Academy in Robbins, NC and attended Flora MacDonald College from 1936 to 1939. She was a member of the Highland Fling Dancers while attending college. As a lifelong Presbyterian, she was a member of the Bensalem Presbyterian Church in Eagle Springs where she enjoyed playing the piano for church in her early years and later was president of the Women of the Church and served in many areas. After the family moved east, she enjoyed attending Pinetops Presbyterian church where she supported many activities and helped with Bible School. She especially enjoyed working with the children.
Mary Lena and her husband Clarence owned Cole Lumber Company, Inc. where she was the bookkeeper for the company for 48 years. She was also a talented seamstress who sewed for herself and for her six children. She made all of her two daughters' clothes, including prom dresses, bridal dresses and bridesmaid dresses. She loved traveling and she and Clarence enjoyed many family trips to see many state capitals, national and state parks and many places of natural beauty. They enjoyed visiting the western states to visit family. In 1961, she and Clarence drove across the USA from NC to California with their six children. What an adventure!
Mary Lena was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She was the mother of six children, two daughters and four sons. She was the epitome of love, patience and kindness. She loved working outside in her yard and enjoyed her flowers. One of her greatest joys was spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When she had one grandchild visiting at her home, she would go and get the others to come and visit also to have them all together. She was lovingly known as "Grandma" to her thirteen grandchildren and as "Great Ma" to her thirteen great-grandchildren. She was known for her gentleness, pleasantness and her beautiful smile which she kept even after being confined to bed for years.
Mary Lena was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence E. Cole; her daughter, Susan Cole Webb; her sister, Vivian Williams of Eagle Springs; and her brothers, Earl Lewis and WT Lewis of Eagle Springs and Ralph Lewis of Durham. She is survived by a large and loving family; her daughter, Clare Cole Phillips and husband Ellis of Pinetops; her sons, Donald Edward Cole and wife Dale of Crisp, Daniel Warren Cole of Fountain, Timothy Lewis Cole and wife Rose of Fountain and Andrew Anthony Cole and wife Melinda of Macclesfield; thirteen grandchildren; Donna Briley of Tarboro, Chris Cole and his wife Renee of Greenville, Bob Phillips and his wife Penny of Greenville, Daniel Webb and his wife Sherry of Tarboro, Mary Walter and her husband Stephen of Greenville, Cathy Beasley and her husband Matt of Kinston, Emily Webb and her husband Kevin of Pinetops, Abby Cole, Lee Cole, Kayla Cole, Maggie Cole, Liza Cole, and Carly Cole and thirteen great-grandchildren; Molly Briley, Zachary and Seth Webb, Chloe Webb, Mary Beth and Emma Jane Cole, Phillip, Henry, Andrew and Luke Walter, and Anna, Kate and Cole Phillips; loving nieces and nephews whom she enjoyed.
A celebration of her life and a service of witness to the resurrection will be held at the Pinetops Presbyterian Church on Thursday, August 7th at 2pm with The Rev. Ed Johnson and The Rev. Jim McKinnon. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall. All family and friends are welcome to a reception in the fellowship hall after the service.
The family would like to especially thank the caregivers who have looked after Mary Lena so well; Linda Deal, Brenda Walston, Evelyn Webb, Shirley Smith, Vickie Bowers, Lou Ann Neal, Tennille Reason, Joyce Dunn, Karen Cobb, Trina Moore and Jeanette Dunn.
Grateful appreciation goes to The Reverend Jim McKinnon for the many visits, prayers and bringing communion to Mary Lena and Clarence through the years.
The family would also like to thank the hospice workers; Joyce Cobb, Marilyn Smith, Aminity Whitaker, Melissa Spivey and Chaplin Kenneth Jarmon.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pinetops Presbyterian Church, PO Box 112 Pinetops, N. C. 27864, designated to the Matthew 25 Fund, which is a fund that helps children and their families in Edgecombe County or to Community Home Care and Hospice, 2479 Hurt Drive, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.
Arrangements are entrusted to Carlisle Funeral Home, Inc. of Tarboro. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.carlislefuneralhome.com.
Carlisle Funeral Home
701 Hospital Drive Tarboro, NC 27886
Published in Rocky Mount Telegram on Aug. 7, 2014