Garrard educator dies in Florida auto accident

May 06, 2004|JIM LOGAN

LANCASTER - A longtime teacher at Paint Lick Elementary School and two others with Garrard County ties were killed Tuesday in an auto accident in Florida.

Lois Clark Speake, 72, of Lancaster, and her sister and brother-in-law, Bettye Clark Prewitt and Herbert Prewitt of Marrietta, Ga., both 69, died when the 1957 Thunderbird they were driving to a classic car show was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on the Florida Turnpike and flipped. All three were ejected and died at the scene.

They were headed to a "T-birds in Paradise" classic car show in Miami when the accident occurred. Herbert Prewitt, who was driving, had restored the bright-yellow car and exhibited it at car shows "all over," said his daughter, Amy Prewitt of Mason, Ohio.

All three were born and raised in Garrard County.

Mrs. Speake, who taught second grade at Paint Lick, had been at the school for more than 40 years. Including early stints at the old Buckeye and Wrenn's View schools in Garrard County, she spent 47 years in the classroom.


Garrard Board of Education Chairman Joe Brown, whose wife, Connie, teaches in the classroom adjoining Mrs. Speake's, said the veteran educator was known as a dedicated teacher who had a unique ability to balance compassion and discipline in the classroom.

"She was a dedicated, wonderful teacher," he said today. "It's just absolutely known by all what a quality person she was.

"She was very compassionate toward children, but she maintained very good discipline in the classroom. She always approached children with a big heart. She was just a balanced teacher in every way - from the academic side, the human side."

Mrs. Speake is survived by her son, Rex Speake, and daughter, Dawn Simpson, both of Lancaster, and six grandchildren.

Herbert and Bettye Prewitt met on a blind date in high school in Garrard County and married while they attended Eastern Kentucky University, said Amy Prewitt.

"You would never think they were 69," she said. "They were enjoying their retirement to the hilt."

Mr. Prewitt was a 30-year veteran of the Army, retiring in 1987.

While serving in Vietnam he twice earned the Legion of Merit and received the Bronze Star, according to an account in The Lexington Herald-Leader. He and his wife moved to Georgia after leaving the Army. He worked as an executive in Roswell and retired about four years ago. He still worked part-time as an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau, his daughter said.

The Prewitts visited Mason, where their other daughter, Kim Rowland, also lives, "every couple of months. They were really, really involved in their grandchildren's lives."

In addition to their daughters, the Prewitts are survived by a son, Gregg Prewitt of Annapolis, Md., and five grandchildren. Mr. Prewitt is survived as well by his father, Herbert Prewitt of Lancaster; a sister; and three brothers.

Ramsey Funeral Home in Lancaster is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete.

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