Home Local Rep. Sewell Announces Celebration of Life for Mother, 81

Rep. Sewell Announces Celebration of Life for Mother, 81


The Birmingham Times

Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07) on Monday announced details for the Celebration of Life Services for her mother, Nancy Gardner Sewell, who passed away at the age of 81 on June 10 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“My brother and I were blessed to have an amazing mother who blazed trails in education, public service, and community activism,” said Sewell. “As the first Black Councilwoman for the City of Selma, Nancy Gardner Sewell paved the way for the journey that now I have the privilege to travel as Alabama’s first Black Congresswoman.”

“My mother was the epitome of a servant leader from her more than 50-year commitment to serving underprivileged children in the Alabama Black Belt to holding international positions in her beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and to her lifelong dedication to uplifting the Selma-Dallas County community,” continued Sewell. “We know that our mother, Nancy Gardner Sewell, sowed many seeds and that her legacy will live on in the many lives that she impacted.”

Homegoing services will be held Friday, June 18 at Beulah Primitive Baptist Church, 3304 County Road 37 South, Hope Hull, AL 36043 where she grew up.

Mrs. Sewell will lie in repose on Saturday, June 19 from 10 am-12 pm CST at Historic Brown Chapel AME Church, 410 Martin Luther King Street in Selma, AL 36703 followed by a celebration of life. This is Mrs. Sewell’s home church where she was a member for over 40 years and taught Sunday School and served as a member of the Board of Trustee of the Historic Brown Chapel AME Church and Secretary of the Historic Brown Chapel AME Church Preservation Society, Inc. (Foundation).

Nancy Gardner Sewell was born on September 16, 1939, in Hope Hull, AL to Elder Tom Gardner Jr. and Effie Nell Gardner. She was the fourth of the couple’s eight children.

Mrs. Sewell and her husband of 53 years, Coach Andrew Anthony Sewell were the proud parents of three children: Alabama’s first Black U.S. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell, Birmingham, AL; and twin sons— Andrew Dwight Sewell, Birmingham, AL and Coach Anthony Dewayne Sewell, DeFuniak Springs, FL; and three grandchildren: Neshambia Nicole Sewell, Selma, AL; Taylor Gray Sewell, Birmingham, AL and Carter Andrew Sewell, Madison, AL.

Mrs. Sewell was preceded in death by her husband Andrew in 2017, her parents Elder Tom and Effie Nell Gardner and her brother Willie Gardner.

She is survived by six siblings: Dorothy (Eddie) Jenkins-Sanders, Hope Hull, AL; John (Barbara) Gardner, Cleveland, OH; Theresa (Charlie) Douglass, Montgomery, AL; Tom (Estelle) Gardner III, Burkville, AL; Gloria (Frank) Humphrey, Montgomery, AL and Negatha Holt, Burkville, AL; sisters-in-law: Mary Brown, Chicago, IL; Frances Canty and Ann (Dallas) Woodard, Detroit, MI; brother-in-law:  Emerson Acoff, Detroit, MI; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loving mothers to her grandchildren: Wanda Peoples, Taqua Gray and Michelle Patterson.