Dolores “Imo Jean” Powell Lyerly, 86, passed away Monday, August 30, 2021, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was one of God’s true masterpieces and will forever be missed by those who knew and loved her.
Imo Jean was born on October 29, 1934, in Haywood County, N.C., to Hobert Hayes Powell and Christine Edwards Powell, who preceded her in death.
She was the youngest daughter in a family of eight children. Her two sisters, Marie Frady and Ernestine Crouch, and five brothers, Charles, Orville, T.J., Hoyt and Lowell Powell, also preceded her in death.
Imo Jean met the love of her life, James Rex “Jack” Lyerly, Jr., at a church camp in Mills River while she was in high school. They were married on July 3, 1954, at Long’s United Methodist Church in Canton and were wed for 52 years, until Jack’s death in 2006.
She is survived by three daughters, Elizabeth Susan Lyerly of Winston-Salem, Deanna Jean Lyerly Thompson and her husband, Dr. Ricky Alan Thompson, of Charlotte, and Sandra Gayle Lyerly Cale of Canton; a son, James Michael Lyerly and his wife, Cathy, of Canton; a sister-in-law, Joyce Ann Smathers and her husband, Donald, of Canton; five grandchildren, Misty Dawn Allison and her husband, Keith, James Michael Lyerly, Jr., and his wife, Christy, Dr. Lauren Elizabeth Thompson, Brent David Thompson and Evan Michael Thompson; five great-grandchildren, Zachary Jones, Bethany Holland, Aidan, Davis and Ethan Lyerly; and several nieces and nephews.
Imo Jean lived all but the last four years of her life in Canton, until she moved to Winston-Salem to be with her oldest daughter, Susan.
Imo Jean was a 1953 graduate of Bethel High School in Waynesville, where she excelled in school, played basketball and was a class officer. She loved her graduating class and was proud that members of the class remained close with one another through the years. She also enjoyed helping plan the many class reunions they had together.
Imo Jean was a tireless worker. In her youth, she began helping in her parents’ country store/service station, Powell’s Esso, after school. Following graduation, she was employed at Smoky Mountain Vending and Candy Company, where she worked full-time until her children were born. She later served as director of the Haywood County division of the American Cancer Society.
During her children’s school days, Imo Jean spent many hours volunteering in their school, serving in leadership roles with the Bethel PTA. She was also a member of First United Methodist Church in Canton where she participated with the United Methodist Women.
Cooking and caring for her family were where Imo Jean seemed most content. Her sausage and gravy, applesauce, slaw, chicken pan pie and chocolate cake were family favorites, while the children in the family thought her grilled cheese sandwiches and French toast were second to none. Her house was a favorite hangout for the neighborhood kids and relatives. The only thing that rivalled her love of family was her devotion to Wake Forest sports, from basketball to the Wake Forest golfers on the PGA Tour, Imo Jean knew and cheered for them all.
She was an innately kind soul who respected everyone and made sure to give thanks to those who offered her help, whether someone was holding a door open for her or the nurses and doctors who took care of her when she was ill. In addition to this wonderful trait, she had an endearing sense of humor which she sprinkled into conversations or whenever she was playing board games with her family, especially on vacations and at the holidays.
Funeral services will be held 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 12, 2021, at the Canton chapel of Wells Funeral Homes with the Reverend Gordon Pike officiating. Burial will follow at Long’s Community Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 1:30 until 2:45 p.m. prior to the service.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Canton, 31 Newfound Street, Canton, N.C. 28716.
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