September 2, 1929 – June 10, 2019
Jewel Ann Mullis Caviness Cope, 89, of Burlington, N.C. passed away peacefully at Hospice House of Alamance County on June 10, 2019, in the presence of God, and surrounded by her loving family. Jewel was born September 2, 1929, in rural Union County, N.C. She was the tenth of twelve children born to James Calvin and Flavella Brooks Mullis, and was the sixth of eight girls. Jewel spent her early years helping her family with farm chores and playing with her siblings and plentiful cousins.
She started to work right after high school graduation. She worked first, with one of her sisters at the Celanese Plant in Rock Hill, S.C. While there, she bought her first car and taught herself to drive. They moved to Burlington, joining two other sisters. The sisters lived together in a one-bedroom apartment. Two found jobs at Western Electric, and soon afterwards, they all found husbands.
During her life in Burlington, N.C., she successfully raised three daughters as a single parent, enjoying time designing and sewing clothes, gardening, attending bluegrass festivals, museums, libraries and traveling as much as possible, never shy of packing up her children for a long road trip to discover the world around her. Her family members, especially her sisters were her best friends, her confidants and her life-long supporter.
Jewel had a 30+ year career at Western Electric working first on Graham Hopedale Road, Burlington before moving to Winston-Salem to finish her career. While living there, she met and married, Henry Cope, moving in to share his rustic home place in Arcadia, N.C., where they lived for many years.
The original portion of that home was more than a century old and had been added onto over the years. The original room was built on a giant boulder and when the house began to settle, the hardwood floor above it began to bow. Never daunted by a challenge, Jewel removed the floorboards, carefully identified them, jacked up the floor and reinstalled them. She did this work mostly alone and with the certain knowledge that she would figure out whatever she needed to know as she went along.
Jewel was a woman of remarkable strength, resilience and optimism. Her ability to live in the moment was legendary within her family. Frequent weekend trips from Burlington to Monroe to visit family sometimes took all day, rather than, what should have been about three hours in the years before I-85. Young cousins anxiously awaiting the arrival of their favorite playmates came to understand that Aunt Jewel would stop with her girls at whatever sight caught their fancy along Highway 49, making every trip “home” an adventure for them, but a cruel waiting game for the folks in the country! Her love of travel took her and her young daughters to Expo ’67 in Montreal, with her as the lone adult driving a big station wagon. Twice, she traveled to Europe (with as much family as she could muster), and once to Argentina.
She made multiple trips to New York City to visit friends and to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade, several cross country trips by car, and many road trips in the van filled with family to Florida or wherever good fellowship could be had.
As part of her volunteer work as a Western Electric employee, she travelled to Colorado to accompany the escort vehicle carrying the Olympic torch to Los Angeles in 1980.
Jewel is survived by two daughters, Pamela C. Rankin and husband, Bill, of Concord, N.C. and their children, Matthew Rankin (Zoe), Ana Rankin and Ellen Rankin; and Lisa Caviness of Danville, Va. and her children, William Adams, Ren Adams and Jewellen Adams. Jewel was predeceased by her middle daughter, Robin Caviness Parrish of Burlington. Robin’s sons, Jeremy (Parrish) Bryd, and his children; Scottie Mihaly, Cody and Colton Parrish and Robert Williams and his daughter, Vanessa survive her. Jewel was also predeceased by her first husband and the father of her children, Tommy Ray Caviness, and by her husband of more than 20 years, Henry Cope.
Jewel is the last of her siblings, but is survived by nephew, Lee Mullis and niece, Blossome Rowell with whom she was raised. In addition, she is survived by 24 Mullis nieces and nephews, (Monroe, N.C.); sister-in-law, Kathleen Mullis, (Roanoke, Va.); brother-in-law, Ted O. Broome, (Monroe, N.C.); and brother-in-law, Jack Kimrey (Burlington).
The funeral will be at Crooked Creek Primitive Baptist Church, 7918 Crooked Creek Church Road, Monroe, N.C. on Friday, June 14 at 5 p.m. Interment will follow at the church cemetery. Visitation will be held immediately after, in the Fellowship Hall. In her written instructions to the family, Jewel had requested no flowers at the funeral, but had instead requested memorials be sent to the Crooked Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, Monroe, N.C., or to the May Memorial Library, Burlington, N.C., with those donations designated for purchasing books.