Jim Lewis Sr., of Harlem, and his wife, Miriam say they plan to never stop learning.
Four years ago, when the Lewises were well into their 70s, the couple decided to go back to seminary school to learn more about the Bible.
On June 1, Mr. Lewis, now 82, received his doctorate in theology from Southern Bible Institute and Seminary. Mrs. Lewis, 79, graduated the same day with her master's degree in theology from the Augusta-based seminary school.
"I'm not a preacher, and I don't intend to be, but I enjoy my theology," Mr. Lewis said. The couple spent the past four years attending school at night and some weekends while managing their real estate business.
Mrs. Lewis said the challenge of learning Greek, studying religious ethics and researching their religion helps to keep them healthy.
Teaching and theological studies run in the family.
The Lewises' youngest son, Lloyd T. (Tim) Lewis, was ordained as a minister during the same ceremony in which his parents received their diplomas. This came a year after he also received his doctorate of theology from Southern Bible Institute.
He teaches at Augusta Technical College as an industrial technology instructor. The Lewises' oldest son, Jimmy Lewis, is the longtime athletic director at Harlem High School.
The elder Lewises, who have been married 59 years, have spent their lives learning and teaching. Mr. Lewis Sr. was a civilian electronics and communications instructor at Fort Gordon for nearly three decades. He also served 10 years as mayor of Harlem, and started the city's Oliver Hardy Festival.
A few days after retiring as mayor in 1995, he said he began working in real estate to have something to do.
Mrs. Lewis grew up the daughter of a Baptist minister. She has spent her life as a mother, grandmother and was a Sunday school teacher for more than 40 years at Second Baptist Church of Thomson.
The couple say they have no plans to become ordained clergy but will continue being active in their church.
"The most important thing is we've learned and we've enjoyed," Mrs. Lewis said.
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