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Woman dies from rifle wound

December 05, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - A Tomahawk area woman died Saturday night in what family members described as a tragic accidental shooting after her husband dropped his hunting rifle.

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Carla F. Lewis, 52, was pronounced dead at City Hospital at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday from a gunshot wound to the torso, said Berkeley County Coroner Sandra Brining.

Lewis was drying her hair in the bathroom adjacent to the couple's bedroom around 5:42 p.m. when her husband was moving a rifle and other items off the bed. The rifle fell, struck the floor and discharged, according to family members and West Virginia State Police.

William M. "Will" Lewis had gone hunting in the morning and returned early to their home at the corner of W.Va. 7 and Oak Grove School Road because it was too warm to hunt deer, said Rosalie Kesecker, Carla's older sister.

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He put the rifle on the bed, Kesecker said. Later his wife asked him to put it away or move it, Kesecker said.

The shooting was still under investigation as of Sunday, said Senior Trooper J.L. Phillips. No charges had been filed. Lewis' body will be sent to Morgantown, W.Va., early in the week for an autopsy, he said.

"She was just always there for everybody, helping. A terrific mother, whenever we needed her," said Lewis' son, Glenn Riner.

"She loved to garden. She loved cooking," said Riner, 31, of Tomahawk.

Despite being exhausted and having a hurt shoulder, Lewis baked Christmas cookies last week, Riner said.

Lewis was a baker at Wal-Mart at 800 Foxcroft Ave. and before that had been a baker for Martin's Food Market, Kesecker said.

"She would just bake all this stuff and eat and eat and eat," but it never showed, said Kesecker, 61, of Rock Cliff Drive in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Kesecker and family members noted two rooms in the beige ranch-style house were full of Christmas presents. She kept her presents for Will Lewis, her husband of more than 20 years, in one room while he kept hers in another, they said.

On a wall in the spare room hangs a plaque that reads, "My day is complete. I heard a child laugh," said Lewis' niece, Cissi Watson, 42, of Hedgesville.

Lewis, called "Bobbie" by family members, loved to spend time with her grandchildren, the son and daughter of her daughter, Melissa Reid, 35, of Inwood, W.Va.

Lewis would call them her "precious little angels," Watson said. She would spoil the young children and get them anything she could, Watson said.

Lewis grew up in the Tomahawk area and attended Hedgesville High School.

Kesecker said she last saw her baby sister on Thursday at Wal-Mart, where they hugged, as they did whenever they saw each other.

Carla Lewis had told Kesecker she'd had a dream in which she'd seen Kesecker's deceased son, Barron, and wanted to know if anything was wrong at home, Kesecker said.

Lewis' husband, Will, 43, could not be reached for comment on Sunday. Earlier that morning he had taken down the Christmas tree and decorative icicle lights around the outside of the house, saying he couldn't spend Christmas there, family members said.

The orange extension cord sat in a pile on the front stoop.

Lewis also is survived by her siblings Calvin DeHaven, of Inwood; Allen DeHaven, of the Hedgesville area; Mable Sherman, of Inwood; Paul DeHaven, of Hedgesville; and Ruby Markley, of Hedgesville.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Hollis and Rose DeHaven, of Tomahawk; and her brother, Elwood DeHaven.

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