Lillian Ruby Lyles Morris

Mrs. Lillian Ruby Lyles Morris, 98, of Roanoke Rapids, left this earthly life Thursday, June 14, 2012, at the home of her daughter in Valrico, FL.

She was the daughter and oldest child of the late Hilliard Henry and Katie Birdsong Lyles of Roanoke Rapids.

Mrs. Morris was a graduate of Roanoke Rapids High School and a life-long member of Rosemary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, where she was a Sunday school teacher for teenage girls, active in the WMU, XYZ, and a member of the Annie Allsbrook circle.

Mrs. Morris was preceded in death by her parents, Hilliard Henry and Katie Birdsong Lyles, her brothers, Elbert Lyles, Roy Lyles, Curtis Lyles, and Henry Lyles, her sister, Lois Lyles Liverman, her brother-cousin, Bill Jones, and her sister-cousin, Edith Boyd Clary.

She leaves to cherish the celebration of her life and memory her daughter, Derith Morris Bennett, son-in-law, Jerry Bennett, granddaughters, Lori Bennett Beauparlant and husband Tejay, Katrina Lynn and husband Marlon, great-granddaughters, Kathryn Davidson, Kaitlyn Davidson, Chloe Lynn, Amelia Lynn, and great-grandson Mitchell Lynn, her nieces, Linda Austin, Jean McLeod, Judy Dixon, and Kay Pruitt. She also leaves a lifetime legacy of love and kindness to her great-nieces, her great-nephews and a multitude of other cousins, relatives, colleagues, and friends.

Mrs. Morris began her career in Roanoke Rapids at Proctor's. She later joined Sears Roebuck and was chosen to open the first catalog store in the area. She and her staff of ladies won numerous awards for sales and service over the years and the store she opened expanded and was moved. She then accepted the position of Consultant and Trainer and traveled across the states of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia to assist in opening new Sears stores. In a business world dominated by men, Mrs. Morris was the first woman to manage a catalog store and paved the way for women who followed after her. She was one of few women working for Sears at the time and fondly referred to her men colleagues as "The Boys". They, in turn, fondly called her "Mama". Her career spanned 30 years and she made many relationships that lasted throughout her life.

In her retirement, she enjoyed gardening, traveling, church activities, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. In her later years, she drew strength from being with her family and deepening her relationships with those she loved. As the matriarch of her family, she relayed numerous stories of her childhood, early life in Roanoke Rapids, her own parents and grandparents, and the experiences of her 98 years.

She will be deeply missed by her family and friends as the one to go to for an answer about family history, a recipe, or a good old fashioned southern meal. She had an infectious laugh and smile, and was very much a true southern lady.

A celebration service of her life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 23rd, at Rosemary Baptist Church with Dr. Layne Wallace officiating. There will be a private burial ceremony at Cedarwood Cemetery prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Rosemary Baptist Church, 936 Jackson Street, Roanoke Rapids.

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Askew Funeral & Cremation Services  •  731 Roanoke Avenue   Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870  •  252-537-8888