From the time she was a little girl, Polly Lewis of The Lewis Family sang her way into gospel and bluegrass stardom.
It’s a passion she carried with her until her death, early Sunday morning.
“About six weeks ago, I walked in and I said, ‘I love you Momma’ and she said, ‘I love you too Sheri.” A whole sentence. And we celebrated,” said Sheri Easter.
They were the first words Polly Lewis spoke in three years to her daughter, Sheri.
Sadly, they would be the last.
Polly passed away after a 16 year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
It took her ability to speak but not the ability to do what many say she was born to do.
Over the past few years, Sheri was her caregiver at night.
“So, we would get up there and we would sing, ‘In the Sweet By and By’ and sure enough by line two she was on her part and she was singing with us,” said Easter.
Polly’s brother, Little Roy Lewis, says singing runs deep throughout the Lewis Family tree.
As children they practiced while they worked.
“They’d bring that old washing machine in and it would pour water on the floor and it had a perfect B note. That would be our note that we would sing in. Me and Polly and Janice would sing with the washing machine,” said Lewis.
Later in life, they were singing to fans, including on NewsChannel 6 for nearly 40 years.
“She could play with the music, she could play without the music,” said Lewis.
Polly would become the fan favorite.
“Polly was the best, she was great,” said Lewis.
It was the same sentiment felt by all who knew the Polly off stage.
“I loved when she was cooking in the kitchen and she was waiting on something to get done. So, she would go into the den and while she was waiting, play something on the piano, like Fatz Domino or Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘You win again,'” said Easter.
When NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Campbell asked Sheri what she wants others to remember about her mother…
“She loved her husband. She was a sacrificial mother. She was an honorable wife. She loved her family and friends and they were first and they knew it,” said Easter.
Visitation is Monday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home in Lincolnton.
The service is Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Hephzibah Baptist Church with a graveside service to follow.