OBITUARY: Betty Ann Ray Lewis

Betty Ann Ray Lewis

Betty Ann Ray Lewis left this world and her worries behind on September 19, 2021. She was 91.

Born at the start of the depression on April 16, 1930, to Violet W. Ray and John L. Ray, her family moved from Michigan to Missouri and back again. She graduated high school in 1948. Her older sister Venita invited her for a visit to Tennessee in 1950, where she met her future husband, Herbert L. Lewis, an aspiring farm tractor salesman in Chattanooga. Her marriage to “my best friend and lover” would last for 51 years, until Herbert’s death in 2002. Herbert and Betty settled in Columbia in 1952, where Betty fulfilled her life’s ambition of being the best wife to Herbert and the best mother to her two sons, Herbie and Johnny. She was affectionately known as “Gert” to her children and grandchildren. She was known for speaking her mind, expecting perfection in all of life’s tasks, and was feared by the many yard services and caregivers she transitioned through over the years.

Betty loved life in the country, flowers, reading, hand embroidery, friends, neighbors, and family, especially her two granddaughters. She was a member of West End Baptist Church, the APTA, Polk Memorial Association, and she was especially proud of being the youngest and the oldest member of the Trotwood Garden Club.

She is survived by son, John Ray Lewis (Denise) and granddaughters, Lauren and Lillian Lewis; sister Peggy Tippe, and brother Larry Ray. She was preceded in death by her husband, Herbert L. Lewis, Jr.; son, Herbert L. Lewis III; sisters, Opal Foran, Venita Lewis, Billie Gilley, and brother, Robert Ray.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Youth, Inc. 4117 Hillsboro Pike Nashville, Tennessee 37215 and Alive Hospice 1718 Patterson Street Nashville, Tennessee 37203.

The family will receive visitors on Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held Friday at 2:00 p.m. at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens in Tullahoma. The family is requesting respectfully that masks be worn and to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. Condolences may be extended online at


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