June 5, 1926 - February 3, 2020 Sara Smith Caldwell, 93, died peacefully Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. She was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, John W. Caldwell Jr.; her parents, Sledge and Wilma Smith; and her brother, Garth Smith. She is survived by her sons, John Wilson Caldwell III (Lynn) of Hickory and Kevin Smith Caldwell (Susan Francis) of Charlotte; and granddaughters, Lauren Caldwell Fisher (Walt) of Charlotte, Meghan Caldwell Fookes (Matt) of Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand, and Grayson Bennett Caldwell of Berkeley, Calif.; and great-grandchildren Adelaide Hinshaw Fisher, Jefferson Taylor Fisher and Indie Louise Fookes. Sara was born June 5, 1926, on her family's farm in Stony Point, and graduated from Stony Point High School in 1943. She continued her education at Catawba College, graduating in 1947 with a degree in Home Economics. She married John Caldwell June 5, 1948. Their marriage was a true love story one which many would dream of and one that cherished time with friends and family. Sara was an active member of the Newton First United Methodist church for over 70 years. She and John were members of the Parker Sunday School Class and loved the connections they made. This community became a second family to them. She was also a devoted member of the United Methodist Women's circles and guild, church council, scholarship committee and served as lay leader. She was a loving mother to Wilson and Kevin, raising her boys to be independent thinkers and to chart their own course. While raising two boys was an adventure, she allowed them to experience life as children, including exploring the neighborhood "hills" with their childhood friends. Sara started teaching in Balls Creek & Maiden schools in Catawba County and later taught Occupational Education assuming a supervisory role in what became Vocation Education with junior high students in the Newton-Conover school system. She was known as an innovative Home Economics and Career Development educator. For several years, she was in charge of the Newton-Conover City Schools Arts Festival held in Gurley Stadium in Newton which showcased students' work and talents and promoted students' involvement with the arts. She was also instrumental in planning career fairs at Newton-Conover Junior High. Her goal was always to make students successful and enable them to make wise choices. After her retirement, she continued to inspire and encourage others to keep learning. Those who knew Sara well would attest to her incredible green thumb, creativity in the kitchen and excitement when it came to entertaining. She created beautiful experiences for others and passed on this love to her family members. Her membership in the Master Gardeners organization and the Newton Garden Club further solidified her skills. She always opened her homes in Newton and at Lake Norman to bring people together sharing meals and laughter with friends at these special places. She especially loved hosting the "We-They" Club and several other bridge clubs. One always knew where she stood; she never hesitated to express her opinion. However, everyone loved being in Sara's presence. She could light up the room with her quick wit and sense of humor whether it be in the classroom, at the bridge table or a serious church meeting. And Sara was always up for an adventure, whether it was traveling the globe, annual family vacations to unknown destinations or taking her granddaughters on North Carolina adventures, and sharing her love of Lake Norman with them. Her granddaughters will forever remember her pragmatic approach to life, humor, quick wit and sense of adventure. In addition, she gave of her time to those in need, volunteering with several organizations in her community, including the American Red Cross. She was a former member of Delta Kappa Gamma and held memberships in NCEA and North Carolina Occupational Association. The family will receive friends at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, at Newton First United Methodist Church. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m., at the church. Inurnment will be held at Eastview Cemetery, following the funeral. Memorials can be made to Newton FUMC, 300 N Main St., Newton, NC 28658. Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home & Crematory - Newton
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