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Obituary: Taevin Symone Lewis, occupational therapy graduate, 26

Was first to enroll in program linking Harris-Stowe State University and Washington University

January 7, 2020

Taevin Symone Lewis, a recent graduate of the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Jan. 1, 2020, in a motor vehicle accident in St. Louis. She was 26.

Lewis was born in Greenwood, Miss., and later moved to Memphis. She was the first to enroll in a cooperative degree-conferring program involving Harris-Stowe State University and Washington University. The program allowed her to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harris-Stowe in three years, followed by a master’s degree in occupational therapy (OT) from Washington University in two years.

“Taevin was a trailblazer, paving the way for us to dedicate ourselves to increase diversity and inclusion in the profession,” said Lisa Tabor Connor, PhD, executive director of the Program in Occupational Therapy.

Duana Russell-Thomas, OTD, a clinical specialist who worked with Lewis, said: “She was illumination, using her smile, honesty and passion to push herself and those around her to excellence. She was love, always seeing and serving those in need and setting the expectation to continue that work as a part of her career.”

Lewis was involved in a wide range of activities while working on her degrees. Among them, she served as the student government association’s president and vice president at Harris-Stowe; she was the 2016-17 Miss Black Missouri U.S. Ambassador; and she served as a tutor for St. Louis high school students and a volunteer for a sickle cell support group at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

On her LinkedIn page, she wrote: “I strive to be a woman of valor, a world shaker, a history maker.”

She is survived by her father, Calvin Lewis (Aubra Lewis); mother, Quadril Siggers-Abron (Darron Abron); brothers Tevin, Nicholas, Kylan, Kyler and Keaton; grandmothers Minnie Lewis and Deborah Siggers; and grandfather, Walter Bibbs.

Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at New Direction Christian Church, 6120 Winchester Road, Memphis, Tenn. A funeral service will begin at the church at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made in Taevin Lewis’ memory to Harris-Stowe State University or the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University.