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Lillian Miles Lewis: 'Farewell My Dear Friend'

After 44 years of marriage, Rep. John Lewis says final farewell to his wife, Lillian.

Lillian Miles Lewis wasn't one to seek the spotlight or attention.

But in her own quiet and dignified manner, she commanded it.

Friends and family and gathered at Ebenezer Baptist Church Monday, Jan. 7, to honor her legacy.

Mrs. Lewis, the wife of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), died New Year's Eve, 2012.

The two have been married for 44 years, after having been introduced to each other by Xernona Clayton Brady, a longtime friend and Civil Rights activist.

Though saddened by the loss of Mrs. Lewis, mourners wanted to celebrate her life and honor the legacy of a woman known for her fierce loyalty to family and friends, her dedication to the cause of Civil Rights and her sense of humor.

Brady recounted a story where Mrs. Lewis couldn't sleep and called her at midnight.

Brady got up early every day at 3 a.m. to go to her office, but wanted to help her friend of 50 years through her insomnia.

They talked for some two hours until Mrs. Lewis said she was sleepy and ready to go to bed.

Brady, by then, was fully awake and only an hour away from her normal wake time.

"I said, 'Lillian, what about me? What must I do," Brady recounted. "And she told me, 'just call the fire department and the police department because they’re awake 24 hours a day."

The congregation erupted in laughter.

Too many people come into the world and simply take up space, Brady continued. "Lillian was born in this world but she enhanced her space."

Mrs. Lewis' nieces, Lori M. and Lisa M. Hobbs remembered their aunt as someone who always knew just the right words of comfort in a moment of crisis, the words of encouragement in times of doubt and was a voice of guidance against confusion.

"She embodied love and kindness," Lisa Hobbs said.

Her aunt loved bright colors, especially orange, her favorite. Vivid, bright colors, she said, were representative of her aunt's personality.

"She was the bright blue in the morning sky," Hobbs said.

"I learned a lot from Lillian," Christine King Farris, sister of slain Civil Rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said. "I will miss the great conversations and times that I shared with Lillian.

"Goodbye, farewell, my dear friend, Lillian."

Ralph Ellis January 07, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Condolences to the Lewis family.

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