WINDER - Lema Wages Hardegree, 96, Winder, passed away on March 13, 2020 at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens.
A native of Gwinnett County, she was the daughter of the late William Robert and Pearl Kilcrease Wages. Mrs. Hardegree worked at the General Shoe Company in Lawrenceville after her graduation from Dacula High School. She later worked along with her mother-in-law, Mary Elder Hardegree, providing loving care for young children at “Miss Mary’s Playschool Nursery” in Winder. But foremost, she was a hard-working homemaker, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to her big family, whom she adored.
Mrs. Hardegree helped her late husband, Elmer Joe Hardegree, on their farm in Barrow County, raising chickens, cattle and hay and enjoyed having “laying hens” for almost 60 years, sharing fresh eggs with her family and many of her friends. She attributed her long life to hard work, the love of family and her faith in God.
She was a long-time member of Chapel Christian Church, where she sang in the choir for many years. She also enjoyed participating in the ladies group (CWF). She and her husband delivered Christmas baskets to shut-ins for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Hardegree were members of the Barrow County Historical Society and helped to survey over 30 cemeteries in Barrow County for inclusion in the Barrow County Cemeteries’ book published in 2000.
Mrs. Hardegree grew up on a large farm in the Harbins Community of Gwinnett County. The Wages and Kilcrease families were some of the earliest settlers of that community.
Mrs. Hardegree is survived by children and spouses, Sue and John Sheats, and James Hardegree, Winder, Barbara and Jim Harwell, Peachtree City, and Debbie Hardegree and Steve Johnson, Arnoldsville; eight grandchildren, Reed (Holly) Sheats, Rory Sheats, all of Winder, Griffin Sheats, Atlanta, Audrey (Chuck) Neuschafer, Andover, Kansas, Nathan (Tricia) Harwell, Peachtree City, Jennifer Hardegree, Beth (Phillip) Bell, Winder, and Eli Johnson, Athens; nine great-children, Luke and Tate Sheats, Drew, Katie and Sydney Harwell, Emma Neuschafer, Savannah Hardegree, and Avery and J.P. Bell; three step-great-grandchildren, Alex, Kaleb and Blake Neuschafer; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. Hardegree was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer Joe Hardegree; her sisters, Letha Wages Still and Jean Wages Carter; her brothers, Lester, Lamar and Marlin Wages; a great-granddaughter, Sela Mae Sheats; and a daughter-in-law, Sherry Everett Hardegree.
Special thanks go out to her loving caregivers, Joan Leon, Judy Brickner, Jennell Hutchins, Faye Banks, Sheila Garrett, Oretha S. Pour, Judy Crowe and Lynne Varnum.
Funeral service:Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Smith Funeral Home in Winder, with interment to follow at Chapel Christian Church Cemetery.
Family to receive friends: Monday, March 16, 2020 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Winder.
Flowers will be accepted, or memorials may be made to Chapel Christian Church, 776 Chapel Church Rd., Winder, Ga. 30680 or to a charity of your choice.
Smith Funeral Home, Winder, is entrusted with the arrangements.