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Tola Ethridge Lewis, Jr.

Posted By obits On July 20, 2020 @ 2:13 pm In Elizabeth City,Obituaries | 67 Comments

Tola “Toby” Ethridge Lewis, Jr., age 75, of West Main St. Ext., Elizabeth City, NC died July 19, 2020 at his home. Born in Columbia, SC on July 7, 1945 to the late Tola Ethridge Lewis, Sr. and Hettie Willetts Lewis, he was the husband of Emily Stevenson Lewis of the residence. Tola was the Director of Veterans Affairs until his retirement. He was a member of Corinth Baptist Church, the Fellowship Sunday School Class, and the NC Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief. Tola belonged to many organizations including the Albemarle Sound Base NC Submarine Veterans, American Legion Post # 126, American Legion Post #126 Legion Riders, and National Karate Jiu Jitsu Union. Many accolades and awards were bestowed upon Tola such as being the recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, Hanshi Tola E. Lewis 9th degree black belt Shito-Ryu-Karate-Do, was the second director of NKJU, and received the NKJU Certificate of Merit.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Toby I. (Diana) Lewis and C. Andy (Jessie) Lewis; a sister, Angela L. (Elwood) Conary; and his grandchildren, Christian Feliccia, Isabella Lewis, Angelina Lewis, and Penny “P J” Lewis. He was predeceased by a sister, Anita Moreland, the mother of his children, Mrs. Martha C. Lewis, and his stepfather, W. Ernest Lewis.

Memorial services will be conducted at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, July 26, 2020 at Corinth Baptist Church Gym with the Rev. Dr. Farren Roper officiating.  The family will greet friends from 1:30 p.m. until the service. Inurnment will take place at Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, NC.   In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the NC Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Fund in care of Corinth Baptist Church, 1035 US 17 South, Elizabeth City, NC  27909.  The family will receive visitors at 1615 West Main Street Ext., Elizabeth City, NC  27909.  Twiford Funeral Homes, Memorial Chapel, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC is serving the Lewis family.  Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.TwifordFH.com.

Contact Information:

Twiford Funeral Home (Elizabeth City)

Memorial Chapel
405 East Church Street,
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
United States (US)
Phone: (252) 335-4395
Fax: 252-335-4329
Email: J.J.Twiford@TwifordFH.com

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Condolence from Cynthia Grasty on July 20th, 2020 2:28 pm

Buddy and I are so sorry for your loss. It is truly a loss for the many people that Tola came in contact with every day. When I worked with him at the school, he was always willing to help everyone. But I will remember him most for his smile every time he saw you and the warm hug that he offered. He will be missed.

Condolence from Lisa Carter on July 20th, 2020 2:29 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I will be keeping you and your family in prayer.

Condolence from Cheryl Poyner on July 20th, 2020 2:59 pm

Emily, I was so saddened to hear about Tola. I was looking forward to seeing you both at the NCDVA retiree reunion in October. I never actually worked with Tola, but I got to know you both through our retiree group. I enjoyed the yearly gatherings and enjoyed Tola’s stories. He liked my husband’s watercolor barns, so we developed a strong bond through those paintings. We will miss Tola, but I am so glad I got to know him. I am confident that Heaven’s gates were opened wide to receive him!

Condolence from Bill and Millie Tice on July 20th, 2020 3:03 pm

Emily, Bill and I are so very sorry for your loss. . . we can only imagine what you are feeling. . . We know that God’s hand is in our lives, every step of the way and pray that you are looking to Him as your Healer and Comforter . . .

Condolence from Wanda Lassiter on July 20th, 2020 3:11 pm

Dear Emily, please accept my greatest sympathies. It was a blessing to work along you and your husband with the NCBM. He will be greatly missed.

Condolence from Velma Gray on July 20th, 2020 3:42 pm

So very sorry to read this. Told was an awesome guy and a friend for many years. RIP my friend. Sincere condolences to the family..

Condolence from Ed and Norma Comstock on July 20th, 2020 4:07 pm

Emily, Toby, and Andy
Norma and I are saddened to hear of Toby’s death. I remember his nightly visits to Dad’s store after he conducted his karate workouts. He was always so pleasant to have a conversation with. You guys will be in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Condolence from Betsy White on July 20th, 2020 4:21 pm

Emily, I am so very sorry to hear of Tola’s passing. I will keep you in prayer for strength and comfort.

Condolence from Kristin Jackson on July 20th, 2020 4:30 pm

I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and your family today and wishing you peace.
I hope you are all able to gather, share happy memories, and comfort one another during this time Of loss.

Condolence from Janet Barger on July 20th, 2020 5:10 pm

Emily, I am so sorry for your loss . May you feel God’s arms around you to help get through this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Condolence from Joe and Sylvia Roberts on July 20th, 2020 5:22 pm

Emily, we were so saddened to hear about Tola. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Condolence from Priscilla Harrell on July 20th, 2020 6:09 pm

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. Will keep you and the family in my prayers.

Condolence from Barbara Allsbrook on July 20th, 2020 6:41 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Tola and I know this is going to be very hard to deal with especially with him passing so suddenly without any health warning. After Rich passed on March 17 during surgery, all I could do is rely on family and Jesus to give me strength and joy and peace in my heart. That’s what I pray for you is to turn completely to your faith in Jesus and your family and friends. Amanda sent me some verses that have helped her and me. Isaiah 43:2 and Romans 5:3-5. And I’m sure there are many others. If you need help call me, I’m just down the street.

Condolence from Linda Houlroyd on July 20th, 2020 7:15 pm

Emily, I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Condolence from Sarah H Lane on July 20th, 2020 7:32 pm

Emily, am so sorry to hear about Tola. His loss will be felt by so many with all the work he has done to help others. I pray for your comfort and peace at this time.

Condolence from Lynn Needham on July 20th, 2020 7:44 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you during such a difficult time.

In Sincere Sympathy,
Lynn Needham

Condolence from Jo Ann Herron on July 20th, 2020 7:48 pm

My prayers are with you and the family. So sorry to hear of Tola’s passing.

Condolence from Catherine Gardner (Curves) on July 20th, 2020 7:54 pm

Emily and family, it is with much sorry that we learned of the death Toby. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you during this very difficult time.

Condolence from Kay Acurio on July 20th, 2020 8:00 pm

Emily and loved ones; I’m so sorry to read this. I’ll keep you in my prayers. With Love, Kay R. Acurio

Condolence from Joan Wood on July 20th, 2020 8:40 pm

So very sorry to hear about your loss please know you and your family are my thoughts and prayers
Joan Wood

Condolence from Pat Johnson on July 20th, 2020 9:41 pm

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
I remember you and Tola from Kairos and always enjoyed those times.
You and your family are in my prayers.
Pat Johnson

Condolence from Bonnie Hamson on July 21st, 2020 7:45 am

Emily, it saddens me to hear of Tola’s passing. Tola was a good man and I enjoyed working with the two of you in Bertie for Karios BCI. I know he is in a much better place. May our Lord and Savior wrap his loving arms around you and give you the strength to get through the days ahead.

Condolence from Joseph Murphy on July 21st, 2020 8:01 am

I am so sorry for your loss. Tola was one of a kind and I have been greatly blessed having known him. My thoughts and prayers tho out to you and your family.

Condolence from Jo and Walter Meads on July 21st, 2020 8:10 am

So sorry for your loss. Keeping you and your family in our prayers

Condolence from Tony & Miriam Hughes on July 21st, 2020 8:30 am

Emily and family, we were so sad to hear of Tola’s passing . So glad we got to know you both through Kairos family ministry and saw the love for our fellow men. Great is his reward.
May God watch over you and give you peace and comfort
Love Tony and Miriam Hughes

Condolence from Sam Davis III on July 21st, 2020 10:38 am

Emily, Toby, and Andy,
Toby was such a wonderful human and my friend of 40+ years and we will all miss that infectious smile, always looking like he had the secret and wasn’t going to tell! His life was full of accomplishments, including the three of you, but to those of us who called him Sensei, he was revered. I would not trade my countless hours being worn out by him nor the friendship that endured. May God grant you peace!
Love to all,
Sam Davis III

Condolence from Bernie and Jeanie Blystone on July 21st, 2020 10:58 am

Emily and family, I am saddened to read of Tola’s passing. I will never ever forget him. What a good man ! You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Anthony Buzzetta on July 21st, 2020 11:24 am

We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Tony Buzzetta and family

Condolence from James Herndon on July 21st, 2020 11:26 am

Sincere condolences from an old friend in the martial arts. Tola was one of the best.

Condolence from Terry Barnes on July 21st, 2020 11:38 am

Tola was a great friend and fellow servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will miss his smile and encouragement. Terry Barnes, Region 7 Feeding

Condolence from Wendy Ambrose Lamb on July 21st, 2020 11:43 am

So sorry Emily, will be thinking about you!

Condolence from Brenda Harris Benton on July 21st, 2020 12:23 pm

Emily,, I’m so sorry to hear of Tola’s passing. Cherish the memories. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Billy Barrow on July 21st, 2020 12:32 pm

Emily and family,
I am so sorry to hear about Tola’s passing. I enjoyed our Kairos teaming. He always brought a bright smile to the group. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Jim Williams on July 21st, 2020 1:40 pm

Emily, Toby and Andy, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Tola will always be Toby to me. After Barry McCarty left Elizabeth City and left the school to him, Toby became my sensei. For five years I learned Motobu Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-do and courtesy. We roomed together for three years, and during those years he taught me patience and tolerance. The broken knuckle I received sparring was never to be repeated, though at times I could have used a good thrashing. A few years after our lives took separate paths, I knew I had become a man. Since then Toby’s light had truly shone before men, and the Kingdom is eternally his in Christ’s Presence .


Condolence from John & Ellie Shea on July 21st, 2020 1:45 pm

Emily – Tola was an inspiration in so many ways serving on the team for Kairos. He will be sadly missed. It was always a pleasure serving with you on the ladies team. May Our Lord comfort you during this time, rest in Him and HE will supply all your needs.

Condolence from Betty and Virgil Sullivan on July 21st, 2020 2:39 pm

Emily and Family. Sorry to hear of the passing of Toby. He will be missed. You and the family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Vivian and Steve Newman on July 21st, 2020 4:18 pm

Emily, We were sorry to hear about Tola. Will keep you in our prayers.

Condolence from Dot johnson on July 21st, 2020 4:49 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Condolence from Barbara Spear on July 21st, 2020 5:02 pm

Emily, you know Preston and I loved you and Tola. He was a dear friend to us. He was always the first person Preston called when disaster relief needed a team.He will be miss by the Faithful frets and the Corinthians.
Most of all we will miss his friendship.
We will keep you and the family in our prays. You know we love you call if you need anything.

Condolence from Darren Myers on July 21st, 2020 6:07 pm

All our thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I knew Tola through the martial arts and he was a great instructor, as well as, a man of great integrity. I will always be appreciative of the lessons he taught me in Karate and in life.

Condolence from Ryu Kyu Kobudo Hozon Shinzo Kai. on July 21st, 2020 6:07 pm

We are so sorry for your loss. May he Rest In Peace

Condolence from Steven & Linda Johnson on July 21st, 2020 7:29 pm

Emily, Toby, and Andy,

Linda and I offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences for your loss. Tola (Toby) E. Lewis, Jr. is only known to me as Sensei (teacher). That is how he will always be referenced by me.

Toby and Andy, you are blessed to have such a loving father. He loved you two deeply.

Emily, thank you for being his wife and taking care of him for the past sixteen years. He told me once that he was blessed because of you.

There is no way that I can ever repay Sensei for all of the fatherly advice that he gave me during my teens through early adulthood years. All I can say is, THANK YOU. With a loving heart. – Steve

Condolence from John and Pat McMahon on July 21st, 2020 8:03 pm

It was with great sadness that we heard of the sudden passing of Tola.
Please know that we are keeping you and the family in our prayers at
this most difficult time. Please accept our sincere sympathy and love.

Pat and John McMahon

Condolence from Lynnette Boyce on July 21st, 2020 11:11 pm

Emily … my heart goes out to you and the family… you have wonderful memories to hold dear in your heart … covering you with prayers

Condolence from Stephen Moore on July 22nd, 2020 8:16 am

God bless you all. We will miss Tola in NCBM disaster relief ministry. I will miss him and pray that God will bless you.
Stephen Moore

Condolence from Mike & Judy Ellis on July 22nd, 2020 9:39 am

So sorry to hear about the passing of Tola. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. If there is anything we can do to help please just let us know. He will be missed.

Condolence from Bill Martin BOM REBUILD on July 22nd, 2020 10:00 am

A man with a great smile that love the Lord and helping other people.

Condolence from Callie and Jimmy Sugg on July 22nd, 2020 11:02 am

Emily, Toby, and Andy,
Jimmy and I were shocked to hear of Tola’s passing. Our hearts go out to you and will hold each of you up in prayer. Your dad and husband was such a friendly guy! He always had something to say…we will remember him and his smile always.
Love, Callie and Jimmy

Condolence from Audie Cerezo on July 22nd, 2020 12:38 pm

My deepest condolences to all Sensei Tola (Toby) Lewis‘s family and friends. I will always remember my life’s lessons in and out of the dojo. He has definitely made an impact on my family. Please say, “Hi”, to mom, dad, and Lardy for me!

I pray for strength to Emily, Toby, and Andy along with all family and friends through this difficult time.

May God’s Blessings shine down on us all as he welcomes Sensei by his side.

Audie Cerezo

Condolence from Mark and Brenda Nolan on July 22nd, 2020 12:59 pm

Emily and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Sending our thoughts and prayers your way

Condolence from Lloyd and Jackie Sullivan on July 22nd, 2020 3:24 pm

Emily and family, we are sorry to hear about Toby. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Condolence from Paula Dignan on July 22nd, 2020 6:00 pm

Emily , my most sincere condolences to you and the entire family. You are in my prayers.

Condolence from Neil Ware on July 23rd, 2020 1:27 pm

I had the privilege of knowing and serving with Toby for many years. He was a wonderful soul . My condolences to Emily and all his family.

Condolence from James Harrington on July 23rd, 2020 1:29 pm

Always the smile!
Since the karate days of the 70’s I have appreciated the friendship of Toby Lewis.
Praying for Emily and all the family.

Condolence from Eddie and Amy Spencer on July 23rd, 2020 9:47 pm

Emily, Toby, and Andy, we were so sorry to hear the news. Please know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Frank Koch on July 24th, 2020 6:39 am

Prayers to the family, I’m struck for words, he was a shinning example to mankind and was a great teacher that I was fortunate to study under.

Condolence from Joyce B. Harris on July 24th, 2020 8:56 am

Emily,Toby & Andy,
Sending prayers and thoughts to each of you and your family. Many memories through the years at the ball park. May the Lord guide you and strengthen you in the days to come. Continue to share the memories of your dad to your children. The stories keep us smiling during the tough times. Keep the faith.

Condolence from Dona Whitehead Yunker on July 24th, 2020 9:35 am

Emily, My condolences to you and also to Tola’s children and their families. May all of you find some peace in the memories he shared while here on earth. He touched the lives of many and will be greatly missed.

Condolence from Gene Rutter on July 24th, 2020 10:46 am

Speaking for the Tarheel Base Submarine Veterans, we offer our prayers and condolences to the family of this Submarine Brother of the Phin. They should be very proud of Tola’s service to this great country.
We offer fair winds and following seas to our brother who is now on Eternal Patrol.

Chaplain Gene Rutter
USSVI Tarheel Base

Condolence from Donna Turner on July 24th, 2020 6:50 pm

Dear Emily and family, David and I sorry about Tola. He was a wonderful Christian man who loved his family and also his church family. May God give you all love and strength each day.
God bless all of you.
David and Donna Turner
Matthews, NC

Condolence from Abe Cerezo on July 24th, 2020 11:32 pm

Dear Emily, Toby and Andy, we are sending our condolences from California. Although we are unable to attend, we want to.let you know that Tola was a awesome man that set us on the right path through strong rigorous training. The last time Tola and I spoke was of great sorrow when my parents died. He offered love and a thoughtful ear. He will be greatly missed. God bless you all

Condolence from Edwin Ross on July 25th, 2020 8:43 pm

Emily,Toby and Andy, Sorry for your loss. Toby was a good man and he helped a lot of people. He will be missed.

Condolence from Nancy Chase on July 26th, 2020 12:54 am

I am Very sorry to hear about Tola’s passing.

I was blessed to be able to train with him in the martial arts and spent an entire summer a few years ago training with him. He was an amazing instructor and a Wonderfully caring gentleman with a heart of Gold.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Dianne Lewis on July 26th, 2020 3:37 pm

Love to all of my Lewis family as we say goodbye to Toby. My two top memories of my cousin are of him riding the old horse at grandmama Lewis’ house in Galivants Ferry, SC and of him pushing me on a homemade rope swing hung high in the tree at the house in Raleigh where Toby, Anita and Angela grew up. May love and memories sustain you Emily, Angela, Toby and Andy.

Condolence from Mary Meta Lowe on July 27th, 2020 1:03 pm

Our family was greatly impacted by the life of Sensei Tola “Toby” Lewis, Jr., who Charles Bryant and Charles David Lowe took Karate lessons from for 5 years. This was a father and son thing that gave them tools for life. I as the wife and mother supported them wholeheartedly. They learned this self defense art as a secret tool for life!
Sensei was very involved in life around him as well, and an example of giving back to others. Though we have not seen him in a while, he will be missed on this earth.
Our condolenences to his wife and sons, who we knew from the martial arts classes.

Condolence from Fred Reel on July 27th, 2020 1:20 pm

Emily and family
I am so sorry I could not make it to the service. Please be assured that there is a hole in my heart with his passing. He was my favorite and it was so nice to come to your house and see the happiness there. I always had a good feeling there. He was a wonderful person that did good on this earth.
I will never forget him. If there is anything you need or I can do, please call on me.

With love,

Fred Reel

Condolence from Evangelist Greg Gallop on August 23rd, 2020 9:22 pm

To the family of Sensei Toby-Lewis: Sensei Lewis was my first karate instructor. He later trained me in preparation for two of my many kickboxing matches. I wrote a book years ago and sent him a copy and he sent me a most wonderful letter to encourage me. The things he taught me about karate, about life and about respect for others has helped to make me a better person.

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