City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Mary Louise (Mary Lou) James Sewell

Durham, North Carolina

Age 93.
Died 10/02/2022.

Mary Louise (Mary Lou) James Sewell
Mary Louise (Mary Lou) James Sewell
August 30, 1929 - October 2, 2022
Durham, NC

Mary Louise (Mary Lou) James Sewell (93, Durham, NC) died peacefully on October 2, 2022, from a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. Mary Lou set an amazing example of love and caring, not just for her family, but for the world. She instilled in her children strong family bonds, a love of nature, a curiosity about the world, a commitment to helping others, and a responsibility for civic participation.

An informal service of remembrance will be held Friday October 7, 2022 at 4 pm at Croasdaile Village chapel, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC 27707. Burial at Emory and Henry College Cemetery and a family celebration at Lake Junaluska are tentatively planned for next year.

Mary Lou raised three strong children while standing up for civil rights in VA, working to pass the ERA amendment in IL, demonstrating against war and nuclear proliferation, volunteering on Mission trips through the Methodist Church in Mexico and Palestine, and organizing for Bread for the World. Mary Lou was a graduate of Emory and Henry College (1950), where she met her husband Winston Grey Sewell. She was a kindergarten teacher for 20 years in public schools, instilling a love of learning in hundreds of kids.

Mary Lou and Winston took their family on many camping trips, mostly in the Eastern US, and especially to the mountains and beaches they loved. They also traveled around the world together, helped start Habitat for Humanity groups, and volunteered for leadership roles in every Methodist church they attended. They retired to the mountains of North Carolina and built their dream home on thirty acres with incredible views. Mary Lou started two hiking clubs in her beloved Smoky Mountains (NC). Mary Lou loved trillium wildflowers, classic Big Band music and Dove dark chocolate.

Predeceased by husband of 45 years, Winston Grey Sewell in 1996 and brother Trigg James Jr. Survived by sister, Kathryn Ann McKinney (CT); children Mary Susan (Susie) Sewell (Durham, NC), Kathryn Ann (Katie) Sewell (Boise, ID), James Winston (Jim) Sewell (Charlene Jacob, NJ); AFS exchange student daughter Ann Richards Handburg (Australia); and three grandchildren: Troy Jacob Sewell (Natasha Jacobs, NY), Clayton Troy Sewell (Clay) Lewis (Danielle Alleman, Bellingham, WA) and Ana Sewell Goldstein (Kaden Goldstein, NJ).

Arrangements by City of Oaks Cremation. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Bread for the World or a non-profit serving those in need.

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

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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