Lelia S. Lipsitz

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2023

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EMERALD ISLE, NC – It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Lelia Darden Sumner Lipsitz (“Lil”) who died at her home in Emerald Isle, NC, surrounded by her loving family, on December 25, 2023. She was 91. She passed just four months after the death of her husband of nearly 70 years, Lee S. Lipsitz.

Lil was born on June 24, 1932 in Murfreesboro, NC where she grew up the fourth of five children of Grady Woodfin Sumner and Mary Gatling Sumner. She spent her childhood on a farm outside Murfreesboro and went to high school in nearby Ahoskie, where she was named the school’s May Queen. She attended Hardbarger College in Raleigh, NC, and later worked in a doctor’s office.

She married Lee on October 7, 1953, and they raised three daughters and a menagerie of dogs in a welcoming house outside of Ahoskie. Lil was the consummate “Jill of all trades.” She was equally at home cleaning gutters on the roof as she was sewing up a roomful of curtains, baking the perfect chocolate cake, or being a ruthless competitor on the tennis court, where her pinpoint shotmaking was legendary. She was the neighborhood snake killer, the best shell spotter on the East Coast, and a sharpshooter on the basketball court. She was a natural beauty but remarkably free of vanity. She had a razor-sharp wit but also a kind and deeply caring heart.

Lil and Lee had several circles of dear friends, including the notorious “Sunday Night Crowd,” which gathered for Sunday-night drinks after long afternoons on the tennis court or golf course. Lil and Lee moved to Emerald Isle and had a wonderful life on the beach, welcoming family and friends to their home, which just may have the best ocean views on the planet. Lil loved those views, and she also loved babies, chocolate, reading, gardening, Duke basketball, and doing the word jumble daily. Her faith was a deep comfort to her, and she ran the St. Peter’s Altar Guild for years.

Lil was much loved and admired by all, and she was a beloved Granny to her six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was truly one of a kind, and will be deeply missed.

Lil was predeceased by her husband, her parents, and all of her siblings: Grady Jr., Carolyn, Hersey, and Albert. She is survived by her daughters, Alexis Flippin (Royce), Julie Shields (David), and Amy Lipsitz; her grandchildren, Michael (Anna) Shields, Stephen (Coleman) Young, Alex (Emily) Burchins, Andrew (Jessie) Burchins, and Molly (James) Rebenski, and Maisie Flippin; her great-grandchildren, Charlie and Lottie Shields and Lily, Sophie, and Josie Burchins; and numerous nephews and nieces.

A joint memorial service celebrating the lives of Lil and Lee will be held at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Lil’s memory to the Friends of Western Carteret Public Library: 230 Taylor Notion Rd., Cape Carteret, NC 28584.