Charlotte Lorraine Andrews McEwen, 1917-2021

Charlotte Lorraine Andrews McEwen peacefully left us on Jan. 3, 2021 to join her Maker. She was 103 years old. She was born Aug. 24, 1917 to Dr. Vernon Lee and Edith May Andrews in Pittsburgh, Pa. Charlotte met her husband, Paul A. McEwen, and they were married in 1939. Paul passed in 2005 following 66 years of marriage while living in Exeter, Calif.

Charlotte Lorraine Andrews McEwen

She was known as Peggy, a nickname given to her by Paul. They met through her brother, Teague Andrews, as students at University of Southern California. She is remembered lovingly as a Mom who was always there for her children, Shirie, Paulette and George. Peggy’s mother passed away when she was just five years old, and knowing what she missed in her own childhood, she made sure to surround her children with a loving, warm environment.

Peggy was a full time Mom who was a fabulous cook and loved to bake. When her children walked up the hill from Kaweah Grammar School, there was always the smell of cookies or cinnamon rolls awaiting them. She instilled in them the love of home through her gardening and seasonal touches, never missing a holiday to decorate.

While her children attended Kaweah Grammar School, she was actively involved as a parent doing whatever was needed in support of the teachers and school functions. Peggy was an amazing seamstress, not only making ninety percent of our clothes but endless costumes for school plays. Countless cupcakes and cookies were delivered to Kaweah!

She attended the Exeter United Methodist Church and the Exeter Church of God, instilling the love of God and his son Jesus in the lives of her children who also attended.

In the beginnings of their citrus farming and nursery, she would offer a hand to help.

As her children entered high school, Peggy worked for Dr. Voelz in Radiology as a transcriber at Exeter Memorial Hospital. When her children left for college, she started working for Tulare County in the Jury Commissioner’s office, a position she held for fifteen years.

Family always filled her home during holidays, sometimes crowding 16 people around her table for her delicious meals. She never learned to cook just for two, even after her children left home!

Peggy loved to work in her garden. From artichokes to apricots, pomegranates to figs, grapes to asparagus, she grew them all as well as a field of vegetables and pots of flowers surrounding her home. Daily, she would attend to her plantings.

She kept hummingbirds visiting her feeder as well as flocks of birds waiting for her to replenish the supply of birdseed daily. She always found herself adopting dogs that had been dumped at the end of her road.

In retirement, she and Paul were active members of the Good Sam RV Club, logging thousands of miles in their travels. One of their favorite trips took place in 1982, when they drove the Al-Can Highway (before it was fully paved) to visit daughter Shirie and her family. They spent two months fishing for wild salmon along the famous Kenai River with grandchildren Jimmie and Julie.

Her grandsons, Matt, P.T. and Rob, who grew up nearby, would travel the mile through the orchards to visit in hopes of dipping into her always full cookie jar! This is the same jar that her children would sneak into before dinner and were always caught!

She was a constant presence in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They span the globe and traveled great distances to help her celebrate her 100th birthday in 2017.

Peggy received a plaque three times for being the oldest in attendance at the Fall Festival Old Timers Luncheon held in Exeter.

Following the passing of her husband in 2005, she continued to live independently in their home on the hill overlooking Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks until 2015. At the age of 97, and still driving, she began her life at Casa Grande for two years and then to Quail Park in Visalia. Her last home was TLC Assisted Living for seniors, also in Visalia.

The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff of TLC Assisted Living for their excellent care, and especially dear family friend Michelle Ducey for her constant companionship to Peggy.

Those left to cherish her memory are her three children and their spouses Shirie and Jim Drath, Paulette Jensen, George and Linda McEwen; grandchildren, Jimmie Jack Drath, Julie Anne Garden, Michael Wayne Gann, David Matthew McEwen, Paul Tomas (P.T.) McEwen and Robert Andrews McEwen, plus eleven great grandchildren.

Celebration of Life will be held with her family in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kiwanis Foundation of Exeter, P.O. Box 151, Exeter, CA 93221. This foundation supports the youth of her community.

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