Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Matilda Ann Gentile Lewis, age 86, of Wilmington, Del., died on Monday, Aug. 24, 2009.
Matilda was born Sept. 14, 1922 in Suffolk, Va., the youngest of eight children born to her Italian immigrant parents, Giovanno Alessandro and Pulcheria Gentile of Bomba, Italy. Of those eight children, six lived to adulthood, five of whom predeceased her: Christine G. Pohl, Antonio Gentile (the creator of Mr. Peanut), Romeo Joseph Gentile, Juliet G. Slade, and Albert Gentile.
Matilda graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Science in home economics in June 1944. It was there that she met Charles Albert Lewis of, Hopewell, Va. They were married on Sept. 22, 1945. Charles worked for Hercules, Inc., and was transferred to Wilmington, temporarily, in 1947. Wilmington has been her home ever since. Charles died on Good Friday 1982.
A great believer in the value of education, Matilda followed her sons through the Wilmington Public School System, volunteering in the school libraries that they attended.
She began her educational career at the Charles B. Lore School, which later became the Lorelton, where she lived for the last seven years. She worked for many years in the library system of the Alexis I. DuPont School District and then as a paraprofessional for the Red Clay Creek School District, tutoring students in reading and mathematics. After retiring, she enjoyed attending the University of Delaware’s Academy of Life Long Learning.
Matilda was a 50-year member of St. Andrew’s Church (later the Episcopal Church of Ss. Andrew and Matthew).
Survivors include her two sons and their wives, Charles and Martha Lewis, of Pittsboro, N.C., and Peyton and Barbara Lewis, of Wilmington; two grandchildren, Justin Lantz, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Katharine Lantz, of Philadelphia, Pa.; her cousin, Bridget Melito, of Richmond, Va.; nephews, Robert Slade and his wife, Donna, of Wake Forest, N.C., and Robert Cook and his wife, Dorothy, of North Carolina; nieces, Carole Gentile, of Anderson, N.C., Nancy Cheeley, of Richmond, Va., Jacquelin Owens, of Hampton, Va., and Patricia Ashkenazi, of Norfolk, Va.
Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in memory of Matilda to the American Cancer Society, 92 Read’s Way, Ste. 205, New Castle, DE 19720; or to the American Heart Association, 1501 Casho Mill Rd., Ste. 1, Newark, DE 19711; or to the Episcopal Church of Ss. Andrew and Matthew, 719 Shipley Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
To sign guest register, visit spicermullikin.com. Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory, 302-328-2213.