BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WWAY) — Senior Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis died after losing her two year battle with a rare form of liver cancer.
Besides her extensive list of accomplishments some people say her smile brightened up many of their days.
Some say she was not only a trail-blazer, but Lewis believed in giving people who wanted to do right, second chances.
She advocated for those with mental health disorders and drug addictions.
Her godfather and close friend, Senator Bill Rabon says her footprint in the community will never be forgotten.
“They’re going to miss her dedication. They’re going to miss a friend, someone that they could talk to that they could go to. And they would get a response. She was a people person. She loved her people,” Rabon said.
Southport Police Chief Todd Coring worked closely with Judge Lewis and says she was a woman of dignity.
“She set the bar high in all that she did,” Coring stated.
Lewis’ impact began decades ago. She started as an assistant district attorney, then was appointed a judge in 1993.
She was the longest serving woman on the bench in North Carolina. Rabon says her passion for helping people was unmatched.
“She really pulled for people that needed a second chance. Instrumental in the drug program here, and second chance. And those things were something she cared about dearly. She lived that, as well as talked it,” Rabon said.
Lewis established the Drug Treatment and Mental Health court in her district as well as the Brunswick County Opioid Addiction Task Force.
“I feel like her vision and passion for that will carry on. Whoever steps into that role to help carry those programs that she started on because she just had a passion,” Coring said.
Lewis also spent time outside of the courtroom helping others.
Coring said she often spoke with fifth graders about drug prevention through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E.
“She was always going above and beyond, and loved to do that, so I just enjoyed listening to her talk and she was always very willing to help in any way,” Coring said.
For her achievements, Judge Lewis also received the order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Funeral arrangements will also be announced at a later date.