Hazelyn Delores Scott Lewis, wife, mother, academic, teacher, and community leader, died peacefully on November 29, 2019, surrounded by family. After a valiant fight, she succumbed to disabilities resulting from a severe stroke.
Hazelyn Lewis was born in Comer, Georgia on February 3,1933, the youngest of three children born to Matilda Jeanette Hill Scott, a teacher, and Clifford Scott who, among other things, was a beloved and successful farm owner. She and her family were confronted daily with what she characterized as “the negative and degrading features of life” inflicted on black Americans in the deep south. Despite the impediments of that environment, her parents successfully raised Hazelyn and her two brothers, Hubert and Robert – each an accomplished professional.
Hazelyn Lewis’s academic preparation began in her mother’s school room in a “dilapidated Negro Church” as she described it. Later, she attended and obtained her high school diploma from historic Union Baptist Institute in Athens, Georgia. Graduating in 1948, at only 15 years of age, she was the class valedictorian. At 19 years of age, she earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English, while also minoring in mathematics, from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. This was followed by a Master of Arts in English from Atlanta University in 1955, and additional graduate study in English and Education at the University of Texas, Austin, and the University of Texas, San Antonio in 1977, 1982, and 1983.
She commenced her professional academic career in 1953 at Prairie View A&M College, where she met and later married Dr. Earl McKinley Lewis, then Chair of the College’s Political Science department. After their marriage in 1955, she taught at Magnolia High School becoming one of the first black teachers to integrate the school. When the family relocated to San Antonio in 1968, she commenced a commitment to the Alamo Community College District’s St. Phillip’s College on San Antonio’s east side that spanned decades. At St. Phillip’s, she served as an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Chair of the English Department from 1984 to 1987, a Chair of the Faculty Senate, Chair and Co-chair of the Texas Academic Skills Program Writing Content Advisory Committee, and Co-chair of the Texas Academic Skills Council, among other activities.
Her professional affiliations included the National Council of Teachers of English, the Texas Junior College Teachers Association, and the Texas Academic Skills Council. In 1989, she was appointed a Piper Professor by the Randall Gordon Piper and Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, San Antonio. The Foundation annually selects 10 outstanding educators from across Texas who exhibit professionalism, dedication, and teaching excellence.
Hazelyn Lewis was a community leader and responsible citizen. She served on the YWCA Board of Directors, the Panel of American Women, and the Advisory Board of Texas Lutheran Hospital. She was a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She and her husband were generous contributors to organizations and institutions dedicated to advancing social justice. In 1989, they were jointly honored by the San Antonio’s Women’s Coalition as one of six exemplary couples for their excellent community and professional activities.
While her professional achievements were significant, she also truly enjoyed her personal life and the people in it. Together with her husband, Hazelyn Lewis raised three children who shared their parents’ commitment to academic achievement. She was a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. She was a fantastic cook; even today, her chocolate cake and lemon cookie recipes are a source of fierce family pride and envy by those with whom they are often shared. Naturally, she enjoyed reading, particularly classic literature. Her consumption of literature was always through a progressive political lens. After all, her Masters Thesis was entitled “Mark Twain’s Treatment of the Negro.” Most recently, her attention to the public policy concerns of our time was best evinced by her tireless, some would say endless, monitoring of CNN news.
Dr. and Mrs. Earl Lewis were married for 57 years until his death on October 13, 2012. She is survived by son Peter Clifton Lewis, daughter-in-law Willow J. Sanchez, and granddaughter Lana E. Hazelyn Lewis; son Ronald Charles Lewis and daughter-in-law Marcia D. West; daughter Alicia Lynette Lewis; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews including Keron Scott Forte of Montgomery, Alabama, Renan Scott of Harvest, Alabama, Dr. Wayne Scott of O Fallon, Illinois, Dr. Hubert R. Scott, III of West Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. Rashad Scott of Columbia, South Carolina, Anwar Scott of Columbia, South Carolina, Houston Scott, of Houston, Texas, Austin Scott and Justin Scott of Harvest, Alabama, and Winston Scott and Kellee Scott of Montgomery, Alabama.
The family expresses its deep appreciation to Mrs. Maria Martinez whose devoted and loving care was primarily responsible for extending the peace and comfort of Mrs. Lewis’s later years, the caregivers at Carrara, the doctors who have treated and cared for her including, especially, Dr, Steve Lau, as well as the many other kind souls who helped her travel comfortably and peacefully down the final road of life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the NAACP (www.naacp.org/donate); the United Negro College Fund (www.UNCF.org), Spelman College (www.spelman.edu/giving) or the stroke prevention organization of your choice (www.stroke.org).
Date: Friday, December 6, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 12:30 pm
Wildwood Chapel @ Restland Cemetery