LEWIS, Emily Wiseman
1920 - 2012
Born Emma Marie Lewis in Paducah, Kentucky, she passed away peacefully days after celebrating her 92nd birthday. She had a wonderful life. At a very young age, Emily moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. After graduating from St. Vincent's School of Nursing, she joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 65th General Hospital. While there, this adventurous young lady saw an advertisement to sign up for the Combat ready unit of the 810th Air Evacuation Unit, and against all odds, (including her Superior Officer who tried to block her) she was selected along with only 3 other nurses. As fate would have it, she also met and married another 1st Lieutenant who was stationed at Fort Bragg, C.T. Wiseman (Tom), right before she was deployed overseas. Emily shipped out to Bottesford England, which would be her home base for the entire war period until she was discharged in 1945. Emily saw a lot of the war during her time overseas, her first assignment came in England and involved the raid on Schweinfurt Germany, when the B-17's returned to the bomber base, Emily and her fellow nurses and doctors were on hand to crawl into the planes and bring the men out to the ambulances and back to the hospitals. Her experiences during the War were able to give her the strength to handle just about anything, and defined her later life. She was given the honor of 'Arkansas Traveler' for her service and was featured in Ken Burn's PBS Documentary THE WAR, where she shared her stories including being at D-Day plus 5, ferrying wounded soldiers off the beaches at Normandy, sitting on gas cans as she flew the wounded back across the English Channel, and as a field nurse behind enemy lines in the Battle of the Bulge, where her group of nurses were called 'Patton's' nurses. She was discharged at Bottesford, and returned to the U.S. in l945.
She and Tom raised their three children, settling in Reno, Nevada, with a short stay in Los Altos California. In 1972, she lost her beloved Tom Wiseman in a tragic accident, and through a twist of luck and fate, she met and married a wonderful man, John B. Lewis, and moved to Sacramento where she raised her youngest son and stepdaughter, and lived a quiet life for the next 33 years, until the death of John Lewis in 2007.
During her time in Sacramento she flew to Normandy and attended the 50th and 60th Anniversary of D-Day, and was awarded the Jubilee of Liberty Medal by the President of Lower Normandy at the 50th, and when she was announced for her medal at the 60th anniversary the entire audience of Brits stood up and cheered. She was the only American nurse who was able to attend. Most recently, Emily was accepted for inclusion on the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Upon John Lewis' death, Emily moved to Southern California. The last year of her life was spent in Monterey, California, where she passed away after a long battle with Alzheimers.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Wiseman Wytyshyn , (Mike) of Carmel, California, son C.T. Wiseman, Jr. (Chris), Reno, Nevada, son John J. Wiseman, Agoura Hills, California, (Kim) and stepdaughter, Kimberly Lewis of Valley Glen, California. She was beloved by all her beautiful grandchildren, Russell Wingfield, C.T. Wiseman III (Tom), and Caitlyn Wiseman, and by her step grandchildren, George Charalambous, Greg Chacon, Mark Chacon, Wendy Skidmore, Michael and Steven Wytyshyn, and her seven (7) great grandchildren.
Formal Memorial Services are scheduled for June 16th at 5:00 p.m. at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento. In addition, there will be a Mass and Rosary at Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church, in Reno, Nevada, on May l9th, at 11:00 a.m., as well as a private Memorial at Lake Malibou, date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Emily's name to Heartland Hospice of Monterey, Autism Speaks, or the Alzheimers Society of America.
The family wishes to give special thanks to the incredible caregivers at Sunrise of Westlake Village, and Sunrise of Monterey, and the wonderful Hospice volunteers who made our lovely Mom's life so beautiful in her last years.
Please visit www.misssionmortuary.com for condolences.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Apr. 22, 2012