Visitation will be on Thursday, Jan. 3, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Esterdahl Mortuary and Crematory, 6601 38th Ave., Moline. The funeral service will be on Friday, Jan. 4, at 11 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2420 41st St., Moline. Burial will be at Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport and will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to All Saints Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Naomi T. Lewis was born Naomi Grace Taggart on Oct. 12, 1915, in Davenport. Her father, Henry Taggart, worked at Griffin's Confectionary, and her mother, Gurtha, worked at the Blackhawk Hotel. After graduating from Davenport High School in 1934, Mrs. Lewis moved to North Carolina, where she received her registered nurse diploma from the segregated North Carolina Sanitorium in 1941. She later did more training at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, and it was there where she met her husband, Dr. Eric Rudolph Clarke, a Meharry-educated doctor originally from Trinidad.
Dr. and Mrs. Clarke moved to Richmond, Va., and then to Smithfield, and Mrs. Lewis worked in her husband's office as his nurse. Mrs. Lewis also worked for the city health department of Hampton, Va., where she was active with the Girl Scouts and Chi Eta Phi, a national sorority for black professional nurses. Dr. and Mrs. Clarke had one child, Erica Taggart Clarke. After her husband died in 1963, Mrs. Lewis moved to Maryland to work at Bowie State and then to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she married Orville V. Lewis Sr.
Mrs. Lewis was a nurse at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, and she also worked as an industrial nurse for Harnischfeger Industries. After her husband died in 1994, Mrs. Lewis moved to East Moline. She was active with the Moline Civic Club, an affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, as well as with the E.C.W. (Episcopal Church Women) of All Saints Episcopal Church. Mrs. Lewis was also an expert seamstress, and she sewed many clothes and outfits for her grandchildren and family friends.
She lived a remarkable 97 years, and she was a feisty and independent woman who never saw herself as a role model but who paved the way for many. This Zora Neale Hurston quote probably best describes Mrs. Lewis: "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me." We will miss her spunk and sassiness.
Mrs. Lewis was preceded in death by parents, Henry and Gurtha Taggart; brothers, James and Archie Taggart; husbands, Dr. Eric R. Clarke and Mr. Orville V. Lewis Sr.; niece, Cheryl Gonzalez; and grandson, Linwood Eric Goldstone. She is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Drs. Erica T. and Linwood Goldstone; grandchildren, Dwonna Naomi Goldstone, Sean (Erica) Goldstone and Janelle Goldstone; great-grandchildren, Jacob Goldstone, Chase Goldstone and Parker Goldstone; nieces, Sandra Y. Beechum and Tiah Hunter; great-nephew, Teren Beechum; adopted daughter, Margarita (Bruce) McGovern; adopted grandchildren, Clarissa (Hector) Guerra and Edgar McGovern; and special family friends from Smithfield, Va., Raymond and Estelle Parsons and Wendy and Wanda Johnson.
Online condolences may be left at www.esterdahl.com.
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