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Gladys Marie “Betty” Lewis Wainwright, of Saraland, AL, passed away at her home Saturday, April 4. She was 87.
Known as Wainie and The Singing Nurse to her nursing friends and Granny, Grammy, Gigi, and Granny Bets by her favorite people, Betty was a member of Citronelle’s Bethel Baptist Church and a family matriarch with almost limitless energy, a wicked sense of humor, and an uncanny ability to somehow fit every relative inside her house at Christmas, her favorite time of year.
After her husband’s death in 1968, Betty became a single mother of seven children who put herself through nursing school, graduating top in the state. She was a trusted and respected cardiac care nurse who for more than 30 years made lifelong friends of colleagues and patients alike at Mobile Infirmary. In 2003, while a nurse at Springhill Memorial, she was awarded Alabama’s Nurse of the Year. “Retirement” was not really a word that suited her; she then worked at Community Services for Vision Rehabilitation until 2011.
She was also a tireless and unfailing caretaker for years to her elderly parents, Henry and Louise Lewis, and a fixture at her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s field trips, ball games, school plays, recitals, birthday parties, and graduations.
Betty is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Herman (Happy) Wainwright; her brothers Richard, Lloyd, and Floyd (Sonny) Lewis; and her first grandchild, Trey Wainwright.
She is survived by her children Herman Jr. (Donna), Steve (Deborah), Mike (Pam) and Kenny Wainwright; Peggy (Neal) Howat, Sheryl (Dan) Wainwright, and Lisa (Jeffrey) Harville; 13 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and sisters Estelle Wooten, Mildred Prades and Vicki Lankford.
A private service with her children will be held at Charity Chapel’s cemetery, where she will be laid to rest next to her husband. After the current health crisis has passed, a memorial will be planned for her many friends and family.
There was truly nothing Betty enjoyed more than welcoming family, their friends, and her friends to her home Sundays and holidays for dinner, extremely spirited conversations, and most of all - a hallmark of her family - a really good story told well. “Come on in and fix you a plate” was heard by everyone who walked in the door. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Betty’s generous spirit and long career of helping those in need by donating to CSVR, where she worked and continued to volunteer after retirement, at 251-476-4744 or https://csvrlowvision.org/.
Freeman Funeral Home - Citronelle, Alabama
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