Carolyn Edith Cooper Fugett, Mother of Legendary Business Man Reginald F. Lewis, Has Died

Carolyn Edith Cooper Fugett, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and Matriarch to the community at large who had a special way of making everyone feel they were her favorite, departed this world of natural causes on February 7, 2023, at the age of 97.

A lifelong resident of Maryland, Carolyn successfully balanced the demands of raising a family of six in West Baltimore, working at least five days a week, finding time to work with community organizations, while maintaining her faith in God and the Church.

Born on September 10, 1925, in East Baltimore to the late Samuel J. and Savilla Cole Cooper, Carolyn was briefly married at an early age to the late Clinton Lewis. Their son, Reginald F. Lewis, would become one of the most successful lawyers, entrepreneurs, and benefactors of his generation. In 1951, Carolyn married Jean S. Fugett, Sr. Together they raised and educated six children. Her family grew to include thirteen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren.

Carolyn made education a family priority, demanding that her husband finish his college education. Carolyn sent her son Reginald, who attended Dunbar High School and Virginia State University, to Harvard Law School in 1965. She made sure that her children were excellent students and involved in sports and the arts. While all were good athletes in high school, her second son Jean, Jr. played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.

Carolyn had the ear of many politicians over the years, working with Gov William Donald Schaefer to select a site for a museum at Pratt and President Street that would be built and then named after her son Reginald F. Lewis. She also supported City Councilwoman Agnes Welch in improving conditions in the Rosemont Community where they both lived.
Carolyn’s motto, and the title of her autobiography, was “Just Do.” Carolyn was no stranger to hard work but always managed to put her family first. She enjoyed taking care of grandchildren, cooking, gardening, and collecting art and historical artifacts. Over many years Carolyn created what she lovingly referred to as “our heritage trail”, a blend of historical artifacts and images that paint a picture of her family’s history and historical contributions spanning from segregation to integration.

A devout Catholic, Carolyn was a confidant to Cardinals and a member of St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church, with service on various boards associated with Catholic Charities. She was also the former president of Saint Edward’s Parish Council and a member of the church’s Sodality. Carolyn was active in West Baltimore’s Rosemont community as an organizer, served on the Wilmer Eye Institute Board, was a loyal Baltimore Colts football fan, and was called “Mom” by many who were fortunate enough to know her.

Carolyn Fugett was pre-deceased by her husband Jean S. Fugett, Sr.; son Reginald F. Lewis, Esquire; sister Charlotte Sullivan, and brothers Samuel Cooper, Jr., Robert Cooper, and Donald Cooper. Carolyn is survived by one brother, James Cooper (Delores); two sisters, Doris Hill, and Beverly Cooper; five children, Jean S. Fugett, Jr., Esquire (Carlotta), Anthony S. Fugett (Trittye), Rosalyn F. Wiley, Ed.D. (Elliott), Joseph M. Fugett, Sharon F. Sands, Esquire (Anthony); daughter-in-law Loida Nicolas Lewis, Esquire; thirteen grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Carolyn’s Celebration of Life will include a Viewing on Sunday, February 19th from 2 to 5 p.m. at March Life Tribute Center, 5616 Old Court Road, Windsor Mill, MD 21244 and a Viewing on Monday, February 20 at 10:00 a.m. followed by Mass at 11 a.m. at Saint Edwards Roman Catholic Church, 901 Poplar Grove Street, Baltimore, MD 21216.