Dorothy Plonk Lewis, 100, died the morning of Monday, February 3, 2020, surround by the family at the Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home.
Dot was born on April 12, 1919 to John Oates and Elvira Foust Plonk in Kings Mountain, NC. She graduated from Kings Mountain High School and Greensboro College. She taught for one year in Franklin, NC before attending the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she graduated with a masters in Bio-Chemistry. She worked for DuPont during the time of World War II researching formulas for a water based paint as a petroleum alternative. This research later led to the discovery of latex based paints.
In 1944, she married Dr. Robert E. Lewis of Lumberton, NC. They moved to North Wilkesboro in 1946 where Bob was a surgeon. She was dedicated to serving her church and community as well as being a wife and mother.
Being involved in the church family was dear to Dot’s heart. She served as an elder, Sunday School teacher, Women of the Church leader, Circle leader, as well as being on several Presbytery committees. In fact, Dot was on the examinations committee for new preachers and a member of the search committee for a number of North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church preachers.
Dot was a member of a bridge club full of Presbyterian women where she loved to play bridge in addition to documenting their history. Dot took many pictures, as well, at the annual church picnic. These were used throughout the years to share with others. As Dot got older, she passed this legacy to her daughter Margi.
Dot was a lover of music. She and Bob always had opera or classical music playing in the home. As a musician in her own right, she played the trombone, violin, and piano. When invited, she happily accompanied the worship service at the Wilkesboro Chapel well into her 90’s. She instilled this love for music in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Teaching songs and piano pieces to the younger generations always lifted her spirits.
Flowers were another love of Dot’s. Every fall you would hear her say, “I want to get some more bulbs in the ground.” You could always see beautiful flowers and plants in her dining room windows all year long.
Dot made many friends throughout her life. She enjoyed visiting with them over the years. She was an avid letter writer and treasured hearing from others. She considered letters and cards history and never threw any away. You would find her in the library reading and reminiscing over meaningful moments that touched her life. In fact, she would even send people old letters she had received from them as a way of saying how special they had been to her throughout her life.
Dot was a lover of the written word as well. She could just sit down and put a poem together. She would compose a poem for every occasion, even to compare the toilets in Europe which she scribed on a roll of toilet paper, no less.
Dot always kept her mind active. Doing the crossword puzzle from the newspaper was a daily event, except for Sundays. The family was continuously amazed when a clue would stump her, a rare occasion. In the same vein, Scrabble was her game of choice, and she was hard to beat.
Beyond her family, Dot’s love for the community was incredibly important to her. She was always concerned for the needs of others, whether it be a special individual, children, or organizations. Dot had a selfless, compassionate heart.
In addition to her parents, Dot was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Lewis and her daughter, Patricia L. Johnston of North Wilkesboro, three sisters, Mary Foust Plonk Weaver of Greensboro, Douglas Regina Plonk McElwee of North Wilkesboro and Maude Plonk Harper Patterson of Kings Mountain, and a brother John O. Plonk, Jr. of Kings Mountain.
Dot is survived by her two daughters: Suzanne Tonski (Ernest) and her son Jacob Tonski (Sharon); Margaret Turner and her son Robert Turner (Poem) and daughter Anna Dooley (Chad); and her son Robert E Lewis, Jr. (Regina); as well as her grandchildren from her late daughter Patricia, Andy Johnston (Brooke), Mary Lewis Johnston, and Blaine Johnston (Melody). Her 9 great-grandchildren, Alex, Emmett, Geneva, Hannah, Reagan, Sebastian, Nick, Maggie, Kenzie have been a source of great joy to Dot.
To God be the Glory!
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North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church
804 E Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
Woltz Hospice Home
945 Zepher Road, Dobson NC 27017