Alice and me at our parent's grave site in Norris, September, 2011.
Dear friends and readers of this blog,
My sister died peacefully this morning around 12:30 AM at the Alive Hospice residential center in Nashville. We had moved her there yesterday afternoon around 5:00 PM from Centennial Hospital. At 8:30 PM her breathing became very shallow and labored. She was then given a shot of Dilaudid to help with her comfort and breathing.
My sister spent her life in service to others. On November 3, 1944 (21 days before I was born) her first grade teacher, Mrs. Irene Plumlee, wrote on Alice’s report card:
Alice is a very good and energetic student in the schoolroom and on the playground. She is very good in number work, art, drawing, and has shown a great improvement in manuscript writing. She is full of initiative and is a natural born leader. She is very good at sharing her property with others.Mrs. Plumlee’s early assessment of Alice was extremely accurate. My sister remained throughout her life a very thoughtful, caring and compassionate human being. She was an excellent student, always near or at the top of her class. She was the president of the Student Council her senior year at Norris High School. She graduated from George Peabody College as an honor student with three degrees.
Her senior year at Peabody she won the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award that is given annually “to recognize individuals whose ‘nobility of character’ and dedication to service has sets them apart as examples for others.” The award is highly prized, and over the years has been bestowed on many outstanding people, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Fred Rogers.
In the early 1960s my sister was chosen by Dr. Nicholas Hobbs to be one of the first Re-Ed Teacher-Counselors at Cumberland House School. Project Re-Ed at the time was a new approach to working with children and youth who had been diagnosed with emotional disturbance, behavior disorders, and/or a mental illness.
Re-Ed was based on educational, psychological and ecological principles. It sought "to help children and their families in near to natural settings as possible, strengthening support systems, reducing discord and helping children learn to make use of normal sources of affection, instruction and discipline."
Within ten years my sister had become the Director and Principle of Cumberland House School. She continued to lead the program for another 10 years, helping to establish it as an internationally recognized program for working with "troubled and troubling" children and their families.
As Mrs. Plumlee said my sister was full of initiative and a natural born leader who was very good at sharing her gifts with others. In short, she was a very good person who led an inspiring life of integrity and service to her family, her friends and her community.
Carolyn, Jeff, Alice and Dee Norris Lake September, 2011