One thing to consider is that we enter this world alone and we leave this world alone. Yes, family is usually around for births and deaths, but at birth we begin to breathe on our own, and upon our deaths, we stop breathing on our own. What we do with our lives in between those two dates is what matters most.
We recently lost yet another gem, Dr. Phyllis Temple Lewis Ponders. She made the most of her 97 years of life; she experienced as much of the world as she could, beginning at an early age when her mother, the legendary Dr. Violet Temple Lewis, traveled the world, she took her girls, and Phyllis was her firstborn, always ready to go. Since her mother founded Lewis Business College, the only historically Black college in Michigan, Phyllis assumed duties, beginning when she was a young girl living in Indianapolis, at the first school, advancing to become the academic dean during her tenure at Lewis.
Success is knowing your life is filled with abundance. When you have love, health, friends and especially family, life is indeed filled with abundance. Phyllis Ponders had it all, and her three lovely daughters — Stefeyne, Violet and Shirley — meant the world to her. She was truly grateful for all life had given her.
My first memory of Dr. Phyllis Ponders was when I began my frequent trips to Detroit to serve as event planner for Lewis College of Business, and practically every trip included a visit to the home of Dr. Ponders. She and her sister, Dr. Marjorie Harris, teamed up to show me Detroit. Spending nights at her home many times proved to be a memory I will always cherish.
One key point is Dr. Ponders had Type 2 diabetes, but learned to live with it without many of the devastations that come from having this disease. My Religion Corner column has included a series on Type 2 diabetes often, and has featured highlights from the life of Dr. Phyllis Ponders. Let me share a bit of her story.
Born in Indianapolis, her mother moved the family to Detroit in 1939, which means Phyllis Ponders lived in Detroit for more than 80 years. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School, earned her B.S. degree in business administration from Wilberforce University and her master’s degree in College Administration from the University of Michigan.
Phyllis was involved in many community activities. She was an active member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority up to her death, the 24th and 25th chairperson of the March of Dimes Fashion Extravaganza and chair of the Steering Committee for over 20 years, to name a few.
Phyllis loved to travel and visited several European countries as well as Japan, Hong Kong, many Caribbean islands, Canada, Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana. She took time to tell me about several wonderful pieces of beautiful wooden art pieces from Africa — there were stories for each piece.
Watching her helped me tremendously, as she cared for herself in a meticulous manner. She made lifestyle changes by following all of the rules, including eating healthy and having small portions, such as having a few prunes and a small serving of oatmeal daily for breakfast.
Next on her morning agenda was daily morning walks, usually with a group. They walked at the nearby mall in Southfield, except Sundays. They walked through the mall for at least one hour, regardless of the weather. For me, she was an example of how to live a full life without allowing your ailment to rule. She took charge of what happened in her life; therefore, getting complications from diabetes early in life was out of the question for her.
Her sorority memorial services will be held Thursday, Aug. 26 at Plymouth United Church of Christ (600 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, Mich., 48201). The Omega service will begin at 10 a.m. with the funeral to follow at 11 a.m.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website,, email or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

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Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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