Lois Ann Johnston Wyly, wife of Dr. William Reid Wyly, and a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, died on July 25, 2018 at the age of 92, in Summerville.
Lois Ann was born at home to great national fanfare and celebration on July 4, 1926 to Gertrude Pieper Johnston and Ora Cecil Johnston in Charleston, SC. She was the second of four daughters and lived with her parents and three sisters in the King Street home of her maternal grandparents, Henry and Marie Suhrstedt Pieper. Her Johnston grandparents were in Northern California. From home, she was able to walk to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church (where her ancestors had been founding members), and Memminger High School. She attended the College of Charleston 1943-46, where she was a member of Delta Zeta sorority. Then she entered the Medical College of South Carolina to receive her degree in clinical pathology technology. It was there that she met a young veteran Reid Wyly, who was working in the lab while pursuing a degree in medicine. From October 1948 for a year, Ms. Johnston worked at Greenville General Hospital, until invited back by Dr. Daniel Ellis to work in clinical pathology at the Medical College, sometimes taking rotations at Roper Hospital, all the while working with Mr. Wyly (which she later believed was part of Dr. Ellis's plan). Part of her lab work involved training medical student apprentices in laboratory procedures. Ms. Johnston and Mr. Wyly married in 1950. After he finished medical school in 1951, they moved with their new baby daughter to Knoxville, Tennessee for a year's internship. After two years of her husband's general practice in St. Stephens, and the birth of their son in 1954, the couple moved to Summerville and had a second daughter in 1955. Dr. Wyly's general practice and surgery, replete with house calls at night, was made possible by Mrs. Wyly's responsibility for home and family. She often said that she was a homebody, however, her church and her friends, "the girls," knew that wasn't completely true.
Mrs. Wyly served actively in St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Summerville, teaching Sunday School Classes, Bible School, serving on The Altar Guild, and as a member of the Evelyn Segelken Circle, Lutheran Church Women, where she was treasurer for many years. She was a Life Member of the Women's Auxiliary to the Lutheran Theological Seminary. In addition to other community volunteer efforts, she served in the PTA, as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader for her daughters and encouraged her son in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. She encouraged her children's involvement in music and chauffeured one of them to Charleston for lessons. She made most of her daughters' clothes when they were young and taught them to sew as well. She was a great cook, keeping up her German family culinary traditions, but also Lowcountry cuisine, often with what was caught at the family get-away on Edisto Island. It was there with her husband and children, floating in the salt-water creek, going to the beach in the jeep, shrimping with a cast-net from the johnboat, stargazing on the dock, or gathering around her home-made deviled crab, that she could "let her hair down."
Lois Ann never spent a day when she was not working diligently at her self-assigned tasks, with the highest possible standards. No one could convince her to take short-cuts. She was especially devoted to caring lovingly for aging parents and aging friends. She took pleasure in creating a home with warmth and beauty, and she gave dignity to that accomplishment. But she discounted all this as something that any wives and mothers did, if they were able and could afford to do so.
Mrs. Wyly and her husband lived happily together in the Tea Farm in Summerville until 2003, when they moved to a cottage at the Summerville Presbyterian Village. She continued to live there among many dear friends, both resident and staff. Getting to lunch with some of these friends became her motivation each day, to share good conversation, laughter, and love, right up to Saturday, July 21. Friends made life wonderful.
Lois Ann served as a template of love to family, friends and strangers. She appeared to draw her own sustenance through the compassion and caring she devoted to others, and she called on God for that. She was wise, faithful, and realistic, right up to the end, and could find just the thing to say to bring an unexpected smile. She was a family peacemaker, not taking sides, but finding the best in each person. She recognized the dignity of even the youngest child and made that recognition a high priority. She always spoke her mind. She was born on the 4th of July, which, she explained, granted her the right to her independence.
Lois Ann lost her husband in 2006, but she never lost sight of him and was still in love with him when she died. She is survived by her children, Katherine Wyly Mille, William Reid Wyly, Jr., and Ann Johnston Wyly; son-in-law Jean-Marie E. Mille; grandchildren: Andrew Wyly Mille (Arlene Felipe Mille); Patrick Johnston Mille (Felina Kostova Mille); and Brennan Wyly Gilmore (Jon Gilmore); great-grandchildren: Kimber Gilmore, Georgia Gilmore, Vivian Mille and Evelyn Mille; sisters: Gertrude (Trudie) Johnston White of Charleston, Marjorie Johnston Dulaney of Jacksonville, FL; and many nieces and nephews and their families. She was predeceased by sister Mary Johnston Forbes of Charleston.
In recent years, Mrs. Wyly deeply appreciated her physical therapists and the nurses at the Village, the Village staff in Dining and in Operations, the Village Concierge, and the EMS and Firefighters who would come pick her up. She also felt blessed to have her hospice nurses and nurse assistants, her doctor and her personal assistants, Carol Mackey and Virginia Dews. Her family is grateful for the kind, playful and loving care all these individuals brought to her life. Mrs. Wyly in the past several years also loved her Sunday morning radio services from St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Charleston, the church of her youth.
A funeral service with Holy Communion will be held at St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 206 Central Avenue in Summerville, SC, 29483, on Friday, August 3, at 3 pm. Family will greet guests in the narthex of the church before the service, beginning at 2:30 pm. The funeral service will conclude at the gravesite at Summerville Cemetery, with a reception for family and friends in St. Luke's Fellowship Hall following the service. Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Lutheran Church; or to The Presbyterian Village at Summerville (Employee Appreciation Fund), (201 W. 9th North St., Summerville, SC 29483); or to the College of Charleston Foundation (66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424-0001); or to the College of Health Professionals, MUSC (P. O. Box 250450, Charleston, SC 29425).
Arrangements by Parks Funeral Home, Inc. 130 West 1st North St, Summerville, SC 29483.