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Kaye H. (Panicke) Lewy

April 15, 1932 ~ August 23, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Our beloved mother and grandmother, Kaye Panicke Lewy, “Grandma Kaye” passed away peacefully at UNC Hospice House on August 23, 2023. 

Kaye was born on April 15, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois to Curtis and Bertie McGehee Panicke. She grew up in San Diego California, and as a child loved to swim and play on the beach. She met Jerry Hopper through her young adult group at First Baptist Church in San Diego where Jerry was stationed with the Navy. Kaye married at the age of 19, and she and Jerry moved their family several times between California and Oklahoma for him to finish his college and graduate degrees.

In 1963 the family moved to Ankara Turkey for 5 years while Jerry worked for the Agency for International Development (AID.) Kaye embraced living in a foreign county. She served as a volunteer for the US embassy, as well as an orphanage, taught English at Middle East Technical University and enjoyed extensive travel. After a brief time in Illinois, the family settled in Chapel Hill. Kaye completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Art from North Carolina Central University in 1973, and received her Master’s Degree in Psychology from West Georgia College in 1976. She worked as an Art teacher with the Durham Public Schools for several years and enjoyed a career as a Licensed Psychological Associate for a number of years.

 Kaye moved to Wilmington NC in the 1990’s. She loved Wilmington and living at the coast.  She enjoyed her pottery and jewelry- making groups and was a prolific artist in other mediums as well, including sculpture and painting. 

Kaye spent many happy times with friends, children and grandchildren in Wilmington and as a grandparent, roller-skated, played putt-putt golf and played in the waves with the grandchildren. The family has fond memories of shrimp dinners and margaritas after days spent on the beach at her home off the Intercoastal Waterway

In 2003 she became reacquainted with her childhood sweetheart, Edward Lewy, and they married in 2006.  Kaye and Lewy enjoyed living in Fearrington Village and traveling in their RV across the country. They loved the west coast and the southwest particularly. They also traveled through Canada and had wonderful trips to Turkey, Greece and Spain. They spent many summers at their home near Boone, NC enjoying the cool mountain breezes. Kaye and Lewy’s extraordinary love story is archived in the Story Corps Program in the American Life Center at the Library of Congress. 

After Lewy passed away in 2021, Kaye spent her final two years living in Azalea Estates in Chapel Hill. 

Kaye had a great appetite for life. She had a lively sense of curiosity, a creative spirit, and treasured her family. She was staunch in her beliefs in democracy and social justice; in the last years of her life she was active in the Current Events group at Azalea Estates, organizing several elected officials as speakers and staying abreast of current legislation.  She participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission events in Wilmington NC in the late 1990’s, worked on many presidential campaigns, and always encouraged others to be engaged citizens.

Kaye made friends easily with people of all ages and backgrounds.  She was a lively conversationalist on a number of topics from politics to astronomy, to travel adventures. She was interested in people’s lives and experiences, and was a good listener. She was especially passionate about her grandchildren and was encouraging and supportive in their joys and celebrations as well as during times of difficulty.

Kaye lived a full life and positively impacted many through her zest for life, her playfulness, love of beauty, her courage during life’s challenges, and her deep spirituality.

She is survived by children Mark, Lauri (David) and Jan (Benny), nine grandchildren; Talya (Keith), Roy Duncan (Gabbi), Ben (Leigh), Daniel (Sara), Rebecca (Mike), Hailey (Zach), Marguerite, and Skyler (Eric). She is also survived by eleven great grandchildren; Ruby Mae, Alex, Nikhil, Gavin, Cole, Lily, Warren, Adelaide, Raena, Isabel and Gemma.  Her granddaughter Laurel passed away in 2021.

The family wishes to thank her faithful caregiver Donna, Transitions Hospice, and UNC Hospice House for their caring services to Kaye.

Those who would like to make a donation may honor her memory by contributing to Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders or the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach SC.

Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory are honored to serve the Panicke Lewy family.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family

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