Lillian Agnes Hancock Michels passed peacefully on the morning of March 16, 2019. She had been receiving care at Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay since last December after surgery to repair a broken hip.
A viewing will be held on Sunday evening from 6-8 pm and the funeral will be Monday, March 18 at 11:00 AM. Both the viewing and the memorial service will be at the Harkers Island Ward meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She was the sixth child, as well as the third and last daughter, among the ten children of her parents, Charlie and Margarette Hancock. She was given the name Lillian after her maternal aunt and the name Agnes after her paternal grandmother. Because her Aunt Lillian had been known to everyone as “Sister,” from that moment on her aunt accepted the title of “Big Sister,” and the new baby immediately began to be called “Sister.” That title stayed with her to the very end.
She was one of the very last babies whose home-delivery was overseen by her maternal great-grandmother, “Aunt Marg.” Because of a delay in getting the news of the new baby recorded, Sister’s birth certificate showed a birth date of 6 May 1939 which was one day after the actual event. In spite of the official record, she assumed and used the real date of May 5th for every reminder of her birth or birthday.
This awkward circumstance was special in that remembering precise dates and places would prove to be an important and memorable aspect of her personality. From the time she was in grade school she became the go-to for recalling when and where any significant event had occurred. If called upon, she could and would spout-out with exactness the time and place of any occasion, as well as putting the date in the context of what else may have happened on or around the same date and time. On other occasions, when something significant would occur, she would volunteer as to what else had happened recently or long ago on that date.
Having been near the middle of her parents’ family, she became an important nexus that bound the older children to their younger siblings. For that reason, all her brothers and sisters viewed her as their closest friend. She was especially close to both of her parents. She nurtured her mother when old age began to take its toll on her mind and body, and was the primary care-giver for her father in the years that followed the passing of her mother.
She stood out as a student in both elementary and high school. As part of the graduating class of Smyrna High School in 1957, she was on the staff of the yearbook and was awarded the superlative title of “Most Talkative” by her classmates. She had a wonderful sense of humor and her constant laughter is something that most of her friends will always remember.
Her horizons broadened and changed forever when she met her future husband, a Coast Guardsman from Burlington, NC named Lloyd Michels. Because his fellow sailors called him by his last name, Sister immediately started using that name as well in conversations and forever after used the short form “Mike” to refer to him for every occasion. After dating for just a few weeks, they were married on September 26, 1956, and remained best friends from that moment onward. “Mike” became her advocate and protector as well as her husband and the two of them were inseparable until the very end even as he traveled to spend every day with her while she remained in nursing care.
Despite her intense attachment to her family and home, she loyally followed Mike in the years following their marriage. Early on they moved to Graham and then to Burlington where Mike worked with Western Electric Corporation. Later, they moved to Clearwater Beach on the west coast of Florida where Mike owned and managed an excursion vessel that ferried tourists on and around Tampa Bay. Eventually, however, they were able to return to the Island where Sister often stated her intention that she would never leave again. She held true to that commitment to the very end.
Sister was a devoted member and worker in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Wherever she lived she took an active role in the affairs of the local congregation and is still remembered by the brothers and sisters who came to know her in Burlington and in Clearwater. Because of her love for children, she was called upon to serve as president of the “Primary,” the children’s ministry of the church, in every place she lived, including in her home ward of Harkers Island once she had made her way back.
Her marriage to Mike was solemnized and made eternal in a special service performed in the Washington DC temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 2, 1975. She eagerly and willingly supported her husband in his own church callings and responsibilities, including several years of incessant travel when he served as Stake (Diocese) Sunday School President, and later as Executive Secretary to the Stake President, L. Lionel Kendrick. It was while Mike was serving in that capacity that he was called to be Bishop of the Harkers Island Ward. Sister was his loyal help-meet for those years of dedicated service and willingly shared his responsibility of helping to meet both the spiritual and temporal needs of the local congregation as well as their families and friends.
Sister was active in every event sponsored by the church and in most other events that occurred on the Island. Even those who knew her only as a friend gladly called her “Sister” and many of them began to think of her as such. She could be counted on not just to attend, but to help in any event that called for her participation. One of her special concerns was in looking out for the needs of the full-time missionaries of her church while they served here. Dozens of them will cling to their memories of her long after her passing.
Sister and Mike were blessed with three sons; Lyle, John and Jason, and eventually with four grandchildren. For her, love and displays of affection were one and the same; especially with her children, and even with her nieces and nephews. She could not see you without an outward display of her feelings that included strong embraces and a vocal “I love you.” Her family dogs, Gertie and Josh, were greeted with almost the same affection as were her family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Margarette Hancock, and by brothers; Ralph and his wife Jacque, Michael, Dennis, and Telford, sister Ella Dee and her husband Carl William, brother in law Ronald Davis. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Lyle and his wife, Rachel of Beaufort along with their two children, Andrew and Bethany; her son John of Wilmington, and by her son Jason and his wife Lauren of Beaufort and their two children, Clay Jason and Cole Thomas. Brothers, Tommy and his wife Thelma, Bill and his wife Nola Hancock, Joel and his wife Susan Hancock, and sister June Davis.
Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noefs.org
Arrangements by Noe Funeral Service, Inc. of Beaufort, NC.