Sarah Montgomery Lewis Wilhite, 95, died on Friday, January 4, 2013.
Born July 31, 1917, in Marshall County, Tn., she was preceded in death by her parents, Hoyle Montgomery and Lizzie Long Montgomery; by her brother, Thomas Newton Montgomery, Sr.; and by her first husband, George Robert Lewis, and second husband, Oscar Robert Wilhite, both of whom she cared for with unwavering strength and love.
Mrs. Wilhite graduated from the University of Chattanooga in 1939. She earned a Masters in Education in 1971 from the University of Chattanooga and was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma. She taught for 40 years in the Hamilton County School system, primarily the fifth grade at John A. Patton, Signal Mountain Elementary and Thrasher Elementary Schools. Mrs. Wilhite has a place in the hearts of the many children she has taught; few households in the Signal Mountain area have not in some way been the beneficiaries of Mrs. Wilhite’s positive influence.
Mrs. Wilhite has held affiliations with the League of Women Voters, Signal Mountain Garden Club, and Symphony Guild and has served as a tutor in the R.E.A.D. Program. She was a member of the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club and was a member of the Tennessee Golden Girls Golf Group, having taken up the sport in later years. Mrs. Wilhite played golf well into her 94th year of life. For many years she was an active member of the Ladies Golf Association at the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. Throughout the years she participated in numerous golf events, receiving many awards for her outstanding play. On two occasions, her Seniors group won the Tennessee Senior Women’s Tournament.
Among her most cherished relationships were those within the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, where she held membership since 1942. She served in many capacities there, including as an elder since 1991 and as a president of the Women of the Church. Under Mrs. Wilhite’s leadership the women’s service group “In His Service” was formed to carry out various projects for those in need and to encourage the use of each member’s own gifts and talents to bring joy to others. She long worked in the Children’s and Youth Departments at the Church. This year was the first year of Vacation Bible School that Mrs. Wilhite missed helping in some capacity. Since becoming a resident of the Alexian Village in 2001, she had made daily visits to the health care center, visiting patients and bringing them a loving greeting. Mrs. Wilhite’s has been a life of service to others.
Remaining to cherish her memory and legacy are her brother, Hoyle Fleming Montgomery, Jr., of Lewisburg; sister-in-law, widow of her brother, Thomas, Kathleen Hill Montgomery, also of Lewisburg; stepdaughters Ava Wilhite Navin (Tom), Rita Wilhite-Foster (Richard), and Roberta Wilhite Esslinger (Sam); niece, Sarah Montgomery Lavender (Timothy); two nephews: Thomas Newton Montgomery, Jr. (Sherrie), and Robert Hoyle Montgomery (Emma); five great-nephews, three great-nieces, and three great-great-nephews.
Mrs. Wilhite’s family is grateful to the congregation of Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church for their support and for the love and care they have shown her during her life and throughout her illness. Thank you also to the Residents of Alexian Village, their staff and her personal caregivers.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10-11 a.m. in the Greeting Room of the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church. A Celebration of Life Service will follow in the church sanctuary.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church Children’s or Youth Program.
Arrangements are by Lane Funeral Home, Ashland Terrace.
Visit www.lanefh.com to share condolences.