Myrtle Ann Coker Lewis

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Myrtle Ann Coker Lewis, affectionately known as Mama Myrt, passed peacefully surrounded by her family on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

“Myrt” was born in Whigham, GA, on March 15, 1939, to the late Jeff Compton and Ernestine Johnson Coker.  She was a proud member of the Whigham High School Class of 1956, with whom she remained friends for the duration of her life. After a three-week courtship, she married Jack Lewis on February 22, 1957, and they remained married until Jack’s death in 1996. Myrt lived a life full of adventure, travel, and service to others. She and her late husband, Jack, lived in various places around the world during their service in the United States Air Force, such as Iceland, Alaska, and Okinawa. She touched lives not only in South Georgia, but around the world, including in Okinawa where she and Jack were founding members of Koza Baptist Church, which is still alive and thriving.  She and Jack retired back to her home town of Whigham in 1975, where they ran Whigham Hardware for a number of years.  She was actively involved in Magnolia Baptist Church and the surrounding community. She served in numerous ways at church, including teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, helping plan and cater social events, and taking care of babies in the nursery. She was well known for caring for the elderly in the community and could be found taking them to doctors’ appointments, preparing meals, and making sure they were safe, fed, and loved. Above all, she loved Jesus and her family.

Myrtle Ann was an avid athlete, playing basketball and softball well into her 50’s.  She and Jack enjoyed many years of fishing, camping, and hosting Class of ’56 get togethers at their home at Lake Seminole.  She relished watching the Atlanta Braves and would often call her friends to discuss the games.  As her family grew, she took the opportunity to impart her love of the outdoors to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren by playing games, fishing, boating, and violet hunting in the woods.  Her generosity extended not only to family and friends, but to strangers as well. She opened her home and land to friends of the family (all who knew her not as Mrs. Lewis, but as Mama Myrt), invited burglars to church, and always had enough food ready to feed a small army. Never afraid to attempt new things, her adventurous and willing spirit allowed her to try experiences most Southern women would not.

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Myrtle Ann is survived by her son Dr. James Gregory Lewis (Juanita); daughter Michelle René Alday, sister Janelle Nelson, and numerous dearly loved nieces and nephews. She was extremely proud of her four grandchildren, Amber Ann Brinks (Joel), Kyle Gregory Alday (Deanna), Kellye Melissa Lewis-Cox (Jamie), Dr. Erin Lewis Gramley (Matt), and her ten great-grandchildren (Cadence, Riley May, Candyce, Roland, Raegan, Jack, Gunner, Elijah, Alden, and Shareen). She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack; her parents, Compton and Ernestine Coker; her brothers Charlie Everett, Herman Carroll, Jeff Vinson, and Billy Floyd Coker; and son-in-love Hiram Aaron (Poochie) Alday.

The funeral service for “Myrt” will be held Saturday, February 10, 2024, 10 a.m., at Magnolia Baptist Church, with a private immediate family internment. The family will accept visitors at Magnolia Baptist Church following the internment. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be sent to the Butler Cemetery Fund, 341 Lake Douglas Road Ext., Climax, GA 39834.

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