Katherine Taylor Lewis, a resident at Trillium Park in Conway, celebrated her 102 birthday Friday.
Lewis was born in Logan, Utah, on March 19, 1908. Her daughter, Jane Sharp, spoke on her mother’s behalf.
"Mother’s grandparents were some of the original settlers of Utah, in Salt Lake City. Her grandfather, John Taylor, was the third president of the Mormon church," Sharp said. Lewis attended college for her degree in education at Brigham Young University, in what her daughter called "a rare time for women to be in college."
After getting her degree, Lewis moved to Los Angeles, where she taught drama for 38 years.
"She put on a number of large productions. Her dramas were well-known in her area. She was a remarkable teacher and she even put on a one-woman show in college," Sharp said.
Sharp said her mother has always been a leader, in education, her community and the Mormon church. Lewis held leadership positions in church organizations at the age of 78, after her retirement.
Twelve years ago Lewis moved to Arkansas to be near her daughter, Sharp, a retired reading teacher from the Conway School District.
She is the mother of three, the grandmother of 12, and the great-grandmother of 24.
"People at (Trillium Park) love mom. She’s always one to put others first and has had many wonderful friends. To move here from California was quite a disruption but she’s never complained once," Sharp said.
Sharp’s daughter, Sandy Sharp-George said her grandmother is "a picture of grace and gratitude."
Sharp-George wrote this of her grandmother, "Though her body is frail and her mind is not strong, she shows gratitude. Somehow she’s reserved her sense of humor and is able to chuckle at her own mistakes and enjoy the laughter of those around her. Through the confusion of her mind, she is somehow yet able to reach out and lift others with her optimism, thoughtfulness and empathy. Now at a time when her decades of active service and responsibility in the church, in schools and as a wife and mother are behind her, what remains is her gift for love and concern for those around her. And that is something special."
At the age of 83, Lewis began the process of journaling her family’s history in a book that has since been compiled with the help of her friends and family called "Katherine Taylor Lewis, An Elect Lady."
Sharp said she reads her mother’s story, written in her own words, back to her often.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)