Cloudy early followed by heavy thunderstorms this afternoon. High 84F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Locally heavy rainfall possible..
Thunderstorms. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low around 70F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.
Updated: August 10, 2022 @ 11:41 am
Adele Thornton Lewis
“Fishing Buddies,” by Adele Thornton Lewis, is pictured. Lewis, 87, died Tuesday.
This image shows an untitled painting by Adele Thornton Lewis.
“Flags & Riverfest,” a painting by Adele Thornton Lewis, is shown.

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Adele Thornton Lewis
“Fishing Buddies,” by Adele Thornton Lewis, is pictured. Lewis, 87, died Tuesday.
This image shows an untitled painting by Adele Thornton Lewis.
“Flags & Riverfest,” a painting by Adele Thornton Lewis, is shown.
HUNTINGTON — A renowned artist who created regional landscapes and portraits recently died.
Adele Thornton Lewis, 87, died Tuesday. Some of her best-known works included portraits of former West Virginia Gov. Jay Rockefeller, Marshall University basketball coach Cam Henderson and Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager. She also created a print for the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Leonor Button, one of Lewis’ daughters, said her mother was “born an artist.” Lewis’ mother and great-aunt were also talented artists. What made Lewis successful was her passion, Button said.
“She was very passionate about her art, and she tried working in an office and just couldn’t stand it,” Button said.
After having children and getting divorced, Lewis made a living off her art. Button said her mother constantly strived to improve her portraits and landscapes.
Lewis supported Button and her sister through college and they graduated debt-free. Lewis’ son joined the military.
Button said her sister, Alice Mitchell, recently shared memories of their mother supporting trips by trading paintings with someone in a place they visited. Button added that Lewis wanted her children to have adventures.
The Huntington Museum of Art shared the news of Lewis’ death online. In addition to having her work featured in the permanent collection, she taught studio class programs at the Huntington Museum of Art beginning in 1978 and through the early 1990s.
“She was among the best painters working in Huntington and in the state of West Virginia during the second half of the 20th century,” Museum Executive Director Geoffrey K. Fleming said in an email. “The quality of her work is extremely good, regardless of whether she is working in watercolor or oil.”
Button said portraits were Lewis’ “bread and butter.” Her mother also enjoyed working with watercolors. When she had an idea for a landscape, Lewis would wet the page and let the colors flow, Button added.
“She just let some of … the color go where it would and then created art from that,” Button said.
Lewis also had a passion for music. She played in the Huntington Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years. She loved animals, nature and children.
To honor Lewis, Button said her mother would be happy to see people take time out of their day to look at nature around them, something she did during her life. Civil rights and women’s rights were also causes Lewis supported. She also encouraged others to find their own passions in life.
Lewis was preceded in death by her son, Thornton Harrold Lewis; her mother, Adele K. Thornton; her father, Grayson D. Thornton; and sister, the Rev. Alice L. Thornton.
Lewis is survived by her daughter, Alice “Tish” E. Mitchell and husband Randall; daughter, Leonor C. Button and husband Tom; and several grandchildren, Margarita (Maggie) Elizabeth Lewis and husband Robert Moore, Sylvia Lewis Siedler and husband Corey, Jennie Adele Button-Batke and husband Mark Batke, Samuel Grayson Button, Reed Taylor Mitchell and Lillie Kershaw Mitchell. Other survivors include great-granddaughter Eleanor “Ellie” Siedler and daughter-in-law Maribelle Lewis. She is also survived by her brother, Grayson D. Thornton and his wife Jan.
Lewis also had special friends in late life, Dr. Paul Whear and his daughter, Cynthia.
A celebration of life will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary.
McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, covering local government in Huntington and Cabell County. Follow her on Twitter @Mckennahorsley.
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