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Dove focuses on future of students

By BY LYDIA GRIMES – Features Writer
Last week a member of the Escambia County School Board was profiled and this week the subject of the profile, Lillie Dove, is a member of the Brewton City School Board. January has been declared School Board Member Appreciation Month.
Dove was appointed to the Brewton City School Board in May 2000 by the city council.
Dove said the Brewton City School Board is not like an article recently printed in a school board publication. It depicted a particular school board as "a team of sled dogs gone amuck. A couple of them are fighting, one was harnessed in backward and one had come unhitched from the sled completely and was wondering off alone."
Dove was born in Brewton to the late Sill V. and Rebecca Lewis into a family of six children. Her parents were strict, worked hard and taught their children to do the same. She attended Ms. Potter's School, the city school on Rogers Street and then went to Southern Normal School in the tenth grade. She graduated from Southern Normal in 1945. She was allowed to teach without a certificate by a couple of teachers - Zelma Henderith and Essie Lewis who was the mother of Jake Lewis, a cousin. She knew that she wanted to become a teacher.
She was always interested in music and her love of the piano began when she given a toy piano as a child. Mrs. Joe Hammond, a friend of her mother, had a daughter who was killed in an accident. The daughter had a piano and her mother wanted to give it to Dove so that she might have a real piano of her own. She started taking lessons at the age of eight or nine with Mattie Stallworth as her teacher. She was good enough that she started playing the piano for her church by the time she was 12. While she was attending Southern Normal, Director Andrew Blanche was her music teacher.
Dove married right out of high school and lived in Pensacola. With the help of her family, she attended Washington Junior College. She continued her education and graduated from Alabama State in 1958. During the time she had three sons and was divorced from her first husband. She taught school in Pensacola and continued her education through extension courses.
Dove remarried in 1967 to James E. Dove who was a U.S. Navy career man. After about a year he was transferred to Newport, R.I. She taught school in Providence and they lived in Fall River, Mass., "just around the corner from the home where Lizzie Borden lived."
Her husband was transferred again in 1970 to Charleston, S.C., where she taught school for the next 20 years. She also started giving piano lessons there in 1983 and went back to college. She received her master's degree in early childhood education at the College of Charleston.
Dove said there followed some very bad times. Her father-in-law, her father, her sister-in-law and her husband died within a short period of time. Her children were all grown and living their own lives. Her mother had been ill and was getting worse with Alzheimer's Disease, so she came back to Brewton to help her sisters with with her mother. Shortly after her return, her mother died and she decided to stay in Brewton as she had already bought a house. She sold her home in Charleston and moved back to Brewton permanently.
She got involved with organizations within the community and set out to fill her life with as much as she could.
She teaches piano to area students and they give recitals to showcase their development and talent. She is confident that she can teach a child to play the piano in four school terms. They have 30 minutes on the computer for theory and techniques and 30 minutes on the piano. Her students always participate in the S.C. Music Educators Association Piano Division locally and state.
She was very involved with Greater Brewton Habitat for Humanity in the beginning and still serves on the selection committee that selects the family that will be able to get a home built.
Dove is a member of the Alabama Retired Teachers Association, Southern Normal Alumni Association and plays the organ and piano at her church, Baptist Hill Missionary Baptist Church and St. Mark Baptist Church. She is also an active member of Delta Iota Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a service organization.
She collects Llandro figurines and other art in the form of paintings. She has some beautiful Charleston art in her dining room and her living room walls contain several large pieces of artwork.
She has three children of her own and one that she adopted. Amos Lewis Jr. is a school teacher at John F. Ingram Technical School System in Montgomery; Michael Lewis, is in the clerical department of Chicago Transit System; Stacey M. Lewis is a personal trainer and co-owner of a gym in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. and Ronald Allen Lewis lives in Peoria, Ariz. and works with computers. She has two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She has two sisters who still live in Brewton - Annie B. Thomas and Emma Mitchell.
Feb. 1 will be mark a milestone for Dove.