City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Lila Mills Ponder Friday

Raleigh, North Carolina

Age 93.
Died 01/20/2024.

Lila Mills Ponder Friday
Lila Mills Ponder Friday, of Raleigh, N.C., died January 20, 2024.

Born October 28, 1930, in New Orleans, La. to Karl Bramblett and Lila Mills Ponder, Lila lived in Birmingham, Ala. and Forsyth, Ga., before moving to her beloved Miami, Fla. Growing up, Lila loved few things more than cycling to the beach with friends and her brother, John, for a day of swimming and sailing. Even after becoming a Tar Heel, she was always a Miami girl at heart.

An excellent student, she thrived at Miami High School and entered Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., at age 16. She transferred to the University of North Carolina in 1949 where she majored in English. Lila joined Pi Beta Phi, making many lifelong friends and becoming chapter president. She also swam with UNC’s synchronized swimming club. Lila was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Valkyries before graduating in 1951.

She met the love of her life, law student John Ralph Friday of Dallas, N.C., on the steps of the U.S. Post Office in Chapel Hill during her first week of class at UNC. They married December 17, 1955, at Shenandoah Presbyterian Church in Miami. John set up his law practice in Lincolnton, N.C., where Lila taught English and engaged in church, civic and cultural activities. In 1959 and 1961, they welcomed their daughters — Susan and Sarah.

A devoted mother, she, with John, encouraged an appreciation of art, music, history and travel. She sewed dresses and draperies, cooked delicious meals and opened their home, Lincolnwood, to friends and family for more than 50 years before moving to Raleigh in 2006. She remained active in politics, supporting John as an attorney and as judge for the N.C. Recorder’s Court, District Court, Superior Court and as an
Emergency Judge.

Lila always loved music. She began as a piano accompanist in eighth grade for the Shenandoah Junior High School orchestra, and later played at church, high school dances and other events. She taught elementary school in Miami for one year after graduation, and elementary school and music in Atlanta for two, before Katherine Kennedy Carmichael, UNC’s Dean of Women, invited her back to work for her in Chapel Hill. Here, Lila accompanied a choir of UNC School of Medicine students directed by roommate and friend Betty Ray (McCain). She continued to support the arts throughout her life, helping bring the North Carolina Symphony to Lincoln County schools for the first time, and enjoying ballet, opera, church music, the North Carolina Symphony and Master Chorale.

A voracious reader, Lila helped garner interest and funding for a new Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library, which opened in Lincolnton in 1976. She also served as chair of the State Library Commission of North Carolina, her service honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine in January 2002. Other honors and service included 1968 Lincoln County Woman of the Year, helping establish the Lincoln County Museum of History in
1987, Peace College Board of Visitors, Barium Springs Home for Children Board of Directors, N.C. Museum of History Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of the USA, UNC 1951 Reunion Committee, 1989-1992 N.C. District Director for the Carolina Alumni board, and committee member for the Tar Heel Network.

A lifelong Presbyterian, Lila attended Shenandoah Presbyterian Church in her youth. She first attended Camp Montreat for Girls around 1942 and enjoyed the Presbyterian conference center the rest of her life. She became an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Lincolnton and lived a life of deep faith, courage, peace, kindness and love. Lila was predeceased by her parents, Karl and Lila Ponder; her husband, the Hon. John Ralph Friday; her brother, John Oliver Ponder (Lucretia); and daughter, Susan Friday Lamb. She is survived by daughter, Sarah Friday Peters, and husband Alexander McClure Peters; son-in-law Terrell Hadley Lamb; four grandchildren — Elizabeth Lamb Poindexter (Matthew), Emily Lamb Viva (Matthew), John Walker Peters and Lila McClure Peters; three great-grandchildren — Cora Watts Poindexter, Mary Friday Poindexter and Graham Alexander Viva; and extended family.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, 27 Horne St., Raleigh, N.C., 27607. A reception will follow. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m., February 19 at Hollybrook Cemetery, Lincolnton, N.C.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, to the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of English & Comparative Literature or to the N.C. Museum of History Foundation.

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.

You can share this obituary using the following address, or click the button below to share on Facebook.

City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

Simply having to reach out to a funeral home can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify the entire funeral home experience and make the process as easy as possible. We hope to eliminate any unnecessary surprises by publishing our total cost and the services we provide directly on our website. All of our obituaries are provided free of charge as a way to help families celebrate and commemorate the lives of their loved ones.

Our Promise

Apples to Apples

Just like all other licensed funeral homes in North Carolina, City of Oaks Cremation, LLC is regulated by the NC Board of Funeral Service.

The same laws that apply to the big corporate funeral homes also apply to the modest independently owned firms like ours. All crematories in North Carolina, regardless of who owns them, are inspected annually by the state and must adhere to the same rules and laws.

Genuine Care

We're committed to providing families within our community unsurpassed service before, during and after the time of loss.

Our staff will provide clear communication to your family through each step as we move forward from the original phone call notifying us of a death to the time we deliver the urn back to your family. We will treat your family with the utmost respect, as we honor the wishes of your loved one.

We promise to make this process affordable and as endurable as possible.

State Wide

Our Funeral Home is located in Wake County NC; however, we provide our services to families throughout the entire State.

Unlike other funeral homes, we don't charge an additional mileage fee. Regardless of what county you live in, we can help your family with making simple, affordable funeral arrangements. From Asheville to Wilmington, we're proud to help families statewide.

Our Services

Direct Cremation


Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. We include everything you need for a simple or direct cremation. Simple, affordable and reliable. We have not changed the cost of our direct cremation service since we opened City of Oaks in 2012.

Cremation with Solidified Remains


We offer the option of choosing how you receive your loved ones remains. Selecting our Direct Cremation with Solidified Remains option is a beautiful way to transform cremated remains into 40-60 “stones” that you can hold.

Cremation with Visitation


City of Oaks Funeral Home and Cremation provides an affordable cremation option with onsite visitation. Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. Simple, affordable and reliable.

Immediate Burial


An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

Traditional Funeral


We offer the same traditional funeral services as the big corporately owned funeral homes in the area; however, we cost about half the amount. You might consider a traditional funeral service if your family is looking for an open casket visitation, a traditional church service or a funeral service in the funeral home's chapel. A traditional funeral service can be altered to fit the needs of your family.

Green Burial


This establishment is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. Our Green options allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials/chemicals.



As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations