LEWIS, BEVERLY DONALSON was born November 26th, 1927, in Birmingham, AL, to Cora Blanche (née Morris) and Edward Earl Wheeler. Later, Major General John Munnerlyn Donalson adopted Beverly. Beverly died on May 15th, 2023, in Birmingham, AL, of natural causes.
Beverly attended Ramsey High School in Birmingham before graduating from Woodlawn High School, Birmingham, AL, in 1944. After War II, she met and was engaged by Donald (Don) Clark Lewis, SR of Perrysville, OH. They were married on August 20th, 1949, until Don’s death in July 2012 (63 Years). She attended Howard College (Samford University, Birmingham, AL) and later at Roanoke College (VA), where she majored in Classics while caring for her three young children. She loved books and Classical opera, art, symphony, and ballet and taught this love to her children.
Beverly had a lifelong calling of “doing for others.” In High School, she was a “Lieutenant” in the Woodlawn ROTC Auxiliary, volunteering to support the families of deployed WWII service personnel, support our War effort, and a letter-writing campaign to our deployed Troops, not receiving any mail. She was outgoing to newcomers, as she had been a newcomer at times. She was devoted to and loved her husband, five children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – believing all to a be blessing from God. She was a lover of books, and as a school librarian, she found ways to inspire that love in children. She was wise, and her advice was often startlingly incisive. She was kind, and poignantly so to those who could not return her generosity. There are countless situations where she alone, with no fanfare, showed up to help individuals or families with food, groceries, clothes, toys for children, books, Bibles, ears ready to listen to hardship, and money. Some desperately needed her attention, some required things, and all needed a Christ-like Beverly. Some people rescue dogs & cats; Beverly rescued people.
As Newlyweds, Beverly worked as a telephone operator, while Don worked at Hayes International and was instrumental in re-forming the 106 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Don and Beverly valued their many friendships through the 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Birmingham Air National Guard Fort Sumpter Smith. Don first met Beverly while her father was the Commanding Officer of the Airbase. Eventually, Don transferred to the Ohio National Guard, and the couple moved from Eastlake to Mansfield, Ohio. Don worked for Tappan Corporation and the Ohio Air National Guard. Beverly, trying to help make ends meet, was an enthusiastic employee at Kobacker’s Department Store and THERMODISC in Mansfield, OH. They returned to Birmingham as the Korean War started, and her husband was activated to Sewart Airforce Base in Smyrna, TN, and the couple moved to Murfreesboro, TN. Part of their wonderful life together was providing young recruits with cookouts and social events at their home and encouraging the young men to attend church. After the Korean War, Beverly and Don returned to Birmingham, living at the family home place “Refuge” on Morrow Road near Trussville.
Beverly gave birth to Denise, “Lucky,” and Ann over the next seven years. In January 1961, they moved to Salem, Virginia, to begin a career with Roanoke Electric Steel, later Tennessee Forging Steel. Beverly’s father innovated the continuous casting steel-making process, which General Donalson brought back from Europe after the War II. Major Lewis’ unit was activated for The Berlin Crisis in August 1961. Major Lewis missed his lovely wife Beverly and his children so much that on a phone call from his base in Chaumont, France, he asked them to move to France to live. The couple lived from 1961-1962 “on the economy” in Chaumont with their three young children. After the Crisis, they returned to Salem, Virginia, where Mark was born. 1965 the family moved to Harriman, Tennessee, to build a Tennessee Forging Steel Plant. John was born before the company relocated the family. Next, they moved to Newport, Arkansas, to build another Tennessee Forging Steel Mill. In 1972 Beverly’s mother was dying of cancer. General & Mrs. Donalson moved back to “Refuge,” and Beverly, wanting to be near her mother, settled her family in Trussville. Beverly and Don lived happily the rest of their lives in Trussville, with Beverly working at Hewitt Trussville Junior High and Elementary School Libraries from 1983-1996. Don worked for the State of Alabama.
Once Beverly became a mother, she spent significant time staying informed and involved. She was a member of the Trussville Chapter of the Jennie June Croly Study Group, Trussville Fire Department Auxiliary. She was a member of the Daughters of the King. Beverly served twice as Regent of Cahaba Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as Senior State Chaplain Children of the American Revolutions, President of United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapters: Captain Truss (Trussville) and William Yancy (Birmingham), and an officer in The United Daughters of 1812 Chapter. In 1977, Beverly and other continuing churchmen started St. Bede’s Anglican Church to preserve the faith of God once delivered. She served as a Prefect Sacristan of St. Bede’s on Grants Mill Road in Birmingham for a decade and as a member of The Anglican Church Women.
Her five children survive her: Denise Blanche (née Lewis) Harris, Donald Clark Lewis JR. “Lucky” (Nancy), Elizabeth Ann (née Lewis) Boone, Edward “Mark” Lewis (Mary Bowron “Bee”), and John Munnerlyn Donalson Lewis (Laura). Beverly is the grandmother to fifteen: Alan Lewis (Bethany), John Wiley Boone (Mallory), Andrew Harris (Becca), Katherine (née Harris) Edmondson (Jacob), William Franklin Harris (Brittany), Donald C. Lewis III “Trey” (Leah), Elizabeth (née Boone) Ward (Justin), Emily Boone, John MD Lewis, JR “Jack” (Ashley), Liz Lewis, Jed Lewis, Joe Lewis, Lillian Lewis, Layton Lewis, and Jem Lewis. Beverly was a great-grandmother to eleven: Ryker and Ridge Lewis (Alan), Heidi Evalyn Boone (John Wiley), Cora Belle Harris (Andrew), Emma Katherine, Tate Edwin, and Jacob Sawyer Edmondson (Katie), Scarlett Rose Harris (William), Brinley Lewis (Trey) and Patrick Wiley and Emily Virginia Ward (Elizabeth).
The family wishes to thank the Kirkwood by the River Nursing Home caregivers and nurses on the 1st-floor Skilled Nursing Unit, who gave Beverly the best care possible, and Compassus, wh o provided Hospice Care. Instead of flowers, Beverly asked for memorials to be made to St. Bede’s Anglican Church; 2350 Grants Mill Road; Irondale, AL 35210, the church she and her husband helped to found & construct. The Visitation will be Thursday, 5/18/23, at one P.M. (1:00 PM), followed by the Service at two P.M. (2:00 PM) at Jefferson Memorial Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery – Trussville.