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By Lyndia Grant
Contributing Writer 

A Life Filled With Abundance in Memory of Phyllis Temple Lewis Ponders


August 19, 2021


One thing to consider is that we enter this world alone and we leave this world alone. Yes, family is usually around for births and deaths, but at birth you begin to breathe on your own then upon your death we stop breathing. What we do with our lives in between those two dates is what matters most.

We lost yet another gem, Dr. Phyllis Temple Lewis Ponders. She made the most of her ninety-seven years of life; she experienced as much of the world as she could, beginning at an early age when her mother, the legendary Dr. Violet Temple Lewis traveled the world, she took her girls, and Phyllis was her first born, always ready to go. Since her mother, Violet Temple Lewis founded Lewis Business College, the only historical black college in the state of Michigan, Phyllis assumed duties beginning when she was a young girl living in Indianapolis, at the first school, advancing to become the Academic Dean during her tenure at Lewis.

Success is knowing your life is filled with abundance. When you have love, health, friends, and especially is indeed filled with abundance. Phyllis Ponders had it all, and her three lovely daughters, Stefeyne, Violet and Shirley meant the world to her. She was truly grateful for all life had given her.

My first memory of Dr. Phyllis Ponders was when I began my frequent trips to Detroit to serve as event planner for Lewis College of Business, and practically every trip included a visit to the home of Dr. Ponders. She and her sister, Dr. Marjorie Harris teamed up to show me Detroit. Spending nights at her home many times proved to be a memory I will always cherish.

One key point is Dr. Ponders had Type 2 diabetes, but learned to live with it without many of the devastations that come from having this disease. My Religion Corner has included the series on Type 2 Diabetes often, and has featured highlights from the life of Dr. Phyllis Ponders. Let me share a bit of her story.

Watching her helped me tremendously, as she cared for herself in a meticulous manner. She made lifestyle changes by following all of the rules; such as eating breakfast by having a few prunes and a small serving of oatmeal daily, she ate healthy and had small portions.

Next on her morning agenda was daily morning walks, usually with a group. They walked at the nearby mall in Southfield, except Sundays. They walked through the mall for at least one hour, regardless to the weather. For me, she was an example of how to live a full life without allowing your ailment to rule, she took charge of what happened in her life, therefore, getting complications from diabetes early in life was out of the question for her.

Phyllis loved to travel and visited several European countries, Japan, Hong Kong, many Caribbean islands, Canada, Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana. She took time to tell me about several wonderful pieces of beautiful wooden art pieces from Africa, there were stories for each piece.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, her mother moved the family to Detroit in 1939, which means Phyllis Ponders lived in Detroit for more than eighty years. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School; earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration from Wilberforce University and her Master degree in College Administration from the University of Michigan.

Phyllis was involved in many community activities. She was an active member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority up to her death; was the 24th and 25th chairperson of the March of Dimes Fashion Extravaganza and chair of the Steering Committee for over 20 years to name a few.

Her sorority memorial services will be held Thursday, August 26, 2021 at Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren, Detroit, Michigan. The Omega service will begin at 10 a.m. with the funeral to follow at 11 a.m.


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