Mona Lou Lewis (affectionately known as Momma Lou, LuLu and Grandma) 86, passed away at her home on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
Mona Lou was born in Logansport, Indiana on November 9, 1935 to Leon and Violet Loop. She loved her home state, the family and friends that were so precious to her there; Indiana Beach (where she worked as a girl) and the cottage across the lake that her grandmother had. Every time she got back to the Hoosier state the first thing she would do is take off her shoes and walk barefoot in the grass. She said there was no better grass in the world. And a trip back to Indiana wouldn’t have been complete if she didn’t get to Indiana Beach to go on the rides, eat a Pronto Pup, take a cruise on The Shafer Queen and reminisce about the good times she had there as a girl.
Her family moved to Osprey, Florida when she was 13. She became active at Osprey Baptist Church, and it’s there that she met her future husband. She attended Sarasota High School, joined The Sailor Circus and performed on the Giant Whorl, the Web and rode elephants. Her love for elephants continued for the rest of her life. There was never any problem trying to think of a gift for her…anything to do with elephants always made her happy.
She and Odell were married on August 18th, 1956 in Kingsland, Georgia and began their life together raising their family while living in Osprey and then in the home they bought in Sarasota. From there they moved to St. Cloud, Florida; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and Tirrenia, Italy; all of these moves due to Odell’s work as an offshore powerboat racer. After they returned from Europe they moved back to Sarasota and finally settled in Franklin, NC.
Over the years Mona Lou worked as a homemaker, deli manager at Winn Dixie, ADAP coordinator and group home manager at Macon Citizens for the Handicapped.
She devoted her life to caring for her daughter Tina and was a perfect example of unconditional love. She helped Tina in every aspect of her life and it wasn’t often that you would see one without the other. A couple of years ago Mom saw Tina in the hallway and motioned for her to come over to her. With her arm outstretched she pointed to Tina and said, “You are the shining light in my eyes”. The bond they shared was unbreakable.
She loved her family & friends, animals of all kinds and every single person she came in contact with that had special needs. Her heart was full of love and she never hesitated to show it. She never forgot a birthday or anniversary…if you were on her calendar you got a card.
Her hobbies included reading, having a book in every room and one in her purse; writing poetry; painting (a talent that she found later in life); and of course the many pets she cared for and loved over the years. She always kept some food in her car…just in case she found a dog or cat that looked hungry. And…she was a big fan of Elvis Presley.
Because of Odell’s work, Mona Lou became the most famous woman in offshore powerboat racing in the 1960’s. She told him that she thought the reason he was so successful was because her name was on his boats.
Mona Lou had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. Over the years she sang solo, in a trio, in a quartet and in many church choirs. It was her love of music that enabled her to lead The Singing Angels, a group of special needs folks (including her daughter Tina) that performed for churches and other organizations. She loved leading this group of gifted singers and was very proud of their accomplishments.
She is survived by her husband of 65 1/2 years, Douglas Odell Lewis and her four children, Terri Lou Head, Michael Odell Lewis, Orville Cribbins Lewis and Tina Leone Lewis; grandsons Bradley Odell Lewis, Kenyon Michael Lewis and Michael Brooks Wheeler all of Franklin, NC; sister Anita Leone Mathis (Gene) of Bradenton, FL; nieces Debbie Wagner (Jerry) of Myakka City, FL; Traci Telford (Jerry) of Sarasota, FL; nephew Brett Allan Mathis of Sarasota, FL; 2 great nieces Britany Mills of Smyrna, GA; Kelly Telford of Tampa, FL; 2 great nephews Joshua Wagner of Avondale, CO; Mark Wagner of St. Petersburg, FL; cousins Kay Miller (Bill) of Lafayette, IN; Craig Shanks (Liz) of Washburn, WI; Thomas Lloyd (Bea) of Playa del Carmen, MX; Lily Bouwkamp (Tim) of Monticello, IN; lots of other cousins (that meant the world to her!); many, many friends and her poodle, Jack.
She was preceded in death by her mother Violet Ardella White; step-dad Jim White; father Leon Loop; step-mom Leota Loop; grandparents Pearl Norris, Dean & Code Zellers and her aunt and uncle Maurice & Eileen Shanks.
Mona Lou had a life that was full of family, friends, travel, pets, laughter, love and a lot of exciting adventures. Our lives have been made better because she was a part of them and no one that has ever met her will forget the amazingly wonderful woman that she was. The song has ended, but the melody will always linger…
A Celebration of her Life will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2022 at Macon Funeral Home in Franklin, NC. Visitation will start at 11:00 with her service at 12:00. Coweeta Baptist Church, where she was a member, will provide a meal for the family afterwards.
The family would like to thank Care Partners Hospice for providing such excellent care for her during the last 2 years. The nurses and aides did an outstanding job and we appreciate that very much.
Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Macon Citizens Habilities , P. O. Box 698, Franklin, NC 28744.