Columbus--Emory Burdette Lewis passed away on December 23, 2019 surrounded by family and friends in Columbus, North Carolina.
Born on January 11, 1937 in Albany, Georgia, Emory was 83 years old. He was the eldest son of Emory and Hazel Jones Lewis, both of South Georgia. Having lived nearly all of his life in Georgia, Emory moved to North Carolina in 2016 to be closer to family.
An alumnus of Emory University with a degree in Business, Emory later received a degree in Credit and Financial Management from Dartmouth. He followed in his father’s footsteps as he launched a fifty year career in banking at Citizens and Southern National Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. After two decades at C&S, Emory pursued community banking as President and Chief Executive Officer of Fayette State Bank in Peachtree City, Georgia. He then served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bank of Walton County, followed by his leadership at First American Bank and Trust Company in Athens, Georgia. Emory retired as President and Chief Executive Office of First Georgia Community Bank in Jackson, Georgia.
Emory thoughtfully balanced his strong work ethic with his passion for family, faith, and service. He married his high school sweetheart, Sarah Cordell, in 1959 and was a loving, affectionate, and dedicated husband and father during their sixty-year marriage. Emory is survived by his wife Sarah; daughter, Sharon Lewis King and her husband, David; daughter, Allison Lewis Vella and her husband, Rick; and daughter, Cynthia Lewis Dee, and her husband, Rob; eight grandchildren, Erin King Johnson, Brennan Lewis King, John Emory Vella, Andrew Jones Vella, Robert Michael Vella, Sara Katherine Vella, Collin Joseph Dee, and Jason Wardlow Dee; and a great granddaughter, Maggie Erin Johnson. Emory is also survived by a brother, Thomas Jones Lewis and wife Rosanne, and a sister-in-law, Kay Turner Lewis, and a brother-in-law, Howard Darst Barnard, III.
Civic duty was of paramount importance to Emory. He cared deeply for others and found fulfillment in his extensive work with Rotary International. Emory honored his father through his longstanding service as President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Heart Association. He also contributed his leadership skills to the local Chamber of Commerce and as President of the Georgia Community Bankers Association. Emory’s hobbies included genealogy, hunting, and golf. He was also an avid do-it-yourselfer and continually amazed family and friends with his ability to build, garden, repair, mend, and do just about anything to a professional standard. He was resourceful, determined, deliberate, and perennially optimistic. In his final years, Emory was known at Tryon Estates for his charm and grace along with his radiant smile and his love for Sarah.
A graveside service will be held in Athens, GA at Oconee Hill Cemetery on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow immediately afterward at The Sexton’s House, located on the Oconee Hill Cemetery property. All are welcome.
A memorial service at Tryon Estates will follow at a later date.
Memorials may be made to The Center for Discovery, a residential facility for multiple and severely disabled children and adults in Harris, NY. The Center for Discovery has provided exceptional care to Emory’s cherished grandson Robert Vella for over fifteen years and has lovingly transferred Robert into long term adult care.
To send flowers to Emory's family, please visit our floral section.