“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well with my soul.” Horatio G. Spafford, 1828-1888.
Betty Ruth Campbell Lewis cherished and shared these words many times as she approached her transition from an earthly world to a Heavenly world. Oh, how beautiful it must be for her to hear a choir of angels singing, “It is Well With My Soul”!
Betty ….. daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, was born December 5, 1930 in Brunswick, Georgia to Alvinia and Lewis Campbell. Her birth came at the height of the Great Depression. Her family was poor. One of the stories she shared was of how cold she was inside their home during the winter months. Betty decided at an early age that she would not be cold again if she could help it. As an adult, moving into a warm home in Baxley fulfilled that dream.
June and Gordon, her sister and brother, were ever present in her mind as siblings and as a substitute mother.
Betty’s father worked as many did during these desperate times for R. J. Reynolds, Jr. on Sapelo Island, Georgia. Her dad came and went by boat each week for his jobs on Sapelo.
A favorite memory Betty shared was of her summers spent on Sapelo working as a babysitter and assistant to the wife of R. J., Marian Byrne, a young actress whose stage name was Marianne O’Brien. Betty helped prepare the nursery for the arrival of their son, Patrick.
Betty expressed frustration in that upon her arrival to school in Brunswick after her Sapelo summer that her classmates didn’t believe a word she said! “Marble sculptures, a Circus Room ornately decorated, murals on the walls, gilded bathroom fixtures, servants, a bowling lane, billiards, a library and a movie theater above the milking barn! Who could have imagined this young girl was telling the truth?!
In 2014, Betty, Billy, Jeff, Jill, Scott and our 4-legged companions, Loca and LB spent a glorious, fun-filled day on Sapelo. Betty was so animated reliving and sharing her memories of a difficult, but magical time in her life. Everyone was spellbound!
Betty came to Baxley in 1951 and began her life as a school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. Soon, she met her beloved husband, a native of Baxley, Billy Lewis. They married April 5, 1952 with a small group of friends and family as witnesses on an Easter Sunday morning at the home they had created on, “Mortgage Hill”. Coffee and doughnuts were provided by Tootle Brother’s Bakery. A magical combination that has sustained the test of time. Betty and Billy celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary April 5, 2018.
Jeffery Lee Lewis was welcomed into their lives January, 1955. Betsy Jill Lewis arrived January, 1957 and John Campbell Lewis December, 1960. From the moment the children arrived in their lives, family and church was front and center. Betty, as the mother of 3 active children, made sure each knew the importance of love of God and love others.
Betty, a gifted musician, sang alto in the choir at First Baptist Church, Baxley for years, then served as organist from 1974-1984 while simultaneously being a wife and mother. Betty’s music brought inspiration and comfort to all who heard her sing and play the organ.
Amidst working for her church and family, Betty, working as a Pink Lady volunteer at the Appling County Hospital, recognized potential in new and different concepts as she began working to develop a gift shop at Appling Healthcare System. This endeavor required endless hours of research and development.
Since 1997, as a result of Betty’s vision, guidance and leadership, the “Gift Gallery” has expanded structurally several times to accommodate the merchandise and volunteers required to keep up with the demand of employees, hospital visitors, citizens of Appling County and the surrounding area. As an example of funds generated under Betty’s direction, a $50,000 contribution was made toward the purchase of a new ambulance for the Appling County Healthcare System. This is just one example of the good that came from her vision.
Betty is survived by her husband of 65 years, Billy Lewis, her children, Jeff Lewis of Baxley, John Lewis of Baxley and Jill Kirby of Raleigh, NC. Her, “favorite son-in-law”, Scott Kirby of Raleigh. 3 grandchildren, David Kirby of Detroit, Michigan, Levi Benjamin Lewis of Portland, Oregon and Blake Lewis of Sante Fe, New Mexico. 2 great grandchildren, Claude and Linus Kirby of Detroit, Michigan.
There are so very many family members that we would never want to overlook. Therefore, please know who you are and accept our supreme love and appreciation for a lifetime of memories.
Recently, Betty wrote a letter expressing her love, gratefulness and humbleness at the love shown to her and her family throughout the course of this horrible disease called cancer. As Betty said, “We become the hands of God.” In her untimely parting, remember that Betty Lewis embodied all we hold dear in our lives. By honoring her, we recognize what we all hope for generations to come.
A love of God
A love of Family
A love of Friends
A love of Truth
A love of Vision, Hard Work and Endurance
A love of All Things Good and Worthy
We love you,
Visitation will be held Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Baxley First United Methodist Church.
A Celebration of Life Service will follow at 3 p.m. at the Baxley First United Methodist Church with the Reverend Steve Meguiar officiating.
Interment will follow in the Omega Cemetery.
The family will be receiving guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Billy Lewis at 12 Dyal Street.
Nobles Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the family of Mrs. Betty R. Lewis.