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B: 1937-02-11
D: 2021-05-07
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Lewis, Jack


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405 Alleghany Street
PO Box 12
Clifton Forge, VA 24422
Phone: (540) 862-4157
Fax: (540) 862-5723
Jack Lewis

Jack Walter Lewis

Thursday, February 11th, 1937 - Friday, May 7th, 2021
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Jack W. Lewis, of both Clifton Forge and Eagle Rock, Virginia, left this world on Friday, May 7, 2021, after 84 years of living life to the fullest. He was born on February 11, 1937, a date that he recently had embroidered on his hat when he couldn’t remember it any longer because of his illnesses, so he could point to his hat when asked to state his birthday. It’s just one example of the problem-solving skills Jack brought to everything he did in life, right to the end.
The youngest of six children born to Lindsay Lewis, a coal miner living in Oliphant Furnace, Pennsylvania, and Margaret McCormick Lewis, Jack developed a strong desire to be an engineer in his youth, but no one in his family had gone to college and he didn’t know how to find the money to make it happen. And his high school guidance counselor discouraged him from pursuing that goal, telling him he didn’t have what it takes. A fortuitous meeting with a high school classmate a year after graduation led him to take the test for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He did well on the test and ended up at the service academy, despite knowing very little about the Coast Guard. All he knew was that it was a way to get a college education with no money. Jack excelled at the USCGA, graduating near the top of his class, and became a Coast Guard officer aboard ship. His excellent officer fitness reports led him to be selected to attend MIT, where he obtained two master’s degrees and the MIT engineer’s degree, which required a year of study beyond the master’s degree and a research thesis.
Jack had successive and sometimes parallel careers as a Coast Guard officer, marine engineer, entrepreneur, corporate CEO, software developer, horse breeder/trainer, robot designer, author and, late in life, a registered nurse (at the age of 74), volunteer paramedic (age of 75), and washtub bass player in the Oriskany Strings oldtime string band, due to some arm-twisting by his wife Carol. He was a competent skier, sailor, horseman, canoeist, graphic designer/artist, carpenter, and an expert flyfisherman. He wrote numerous technical papers and articles, including national award-winning papers for engineering societies, as well as textbooks and engineering reference books. When he became ill and had to slow down a bit, he researched and wrote an award-winning novel, Storm Coming, based on his great-grandfather who joined the cavalry during the first year of the Civil War in western Virginia.
Jack was predeceased by his parents; his brothers George, Jim, and Tom; and his sisters Hazel and Eleanor. In addition to his wife Carol Surber Lewis, Jack is survived by his two sons Jason Lewis (Adam) and Jeffrey Lewis (Mariann); three grandchildren, Michael Russell (Michaela), Jennifer Lewis, and Zackary Lewis; three great-grandchildren; many beloved nieces and nephews; and many good friends. He wanted to especially thank his fishing buddy friends Bud and Bruce, and his dear friend Frank, for all the great memories—love you, guys!—and to thank the wonderful people at Blue Ridge Cancer Care and the nurses on the fourth floor of LewisGale Hospital Alleghany for taking such good care of him.
An open-air memorial service will be held at King Memorial Church pavilion, Oriskany, Virginia on Saturday, June 5, at 2 pm.
Nicely Funeral Home, Clifton Forge is handling arrangements.
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Robert Leroy Martin

Posted at 12:29pm
I am so sad to know that Jack has passed. We went way back together – to 1956 in Beaver County, PA. An article about my being appointed to the academy appeared in Beaver County Times. I was listed as Robert Leroy Martin. True, but having gone by “Leroy” for almost 19 years I was happy when Jack called to hear him ask “is this Bob Martin?” I said “it is now” – and it still is!
Jack and I went by train together from Pittsburgh to New London and we roomed together our “swab” summer (1956). We also went together on our first leave at Thanksgiving to New York City and stayed with my uncle in Manhattan. And we hung out together in Bergen, Norway in 1957.
I will miss Jack but I treasure the times we talked in the recent past.
Robert L. "Bob" Martin
2643 Empie Drive
Leland, NC 28451


Dolores Soffientini

Posted at 12:01pm
May your memories of your dad bring you comfort and peace. Dolores Soffientini

Mabel Swanson

Posted at 09:15am
My dear Carol, So sorry for your loss. I know your mixed sorrow and thankfulness. Sorrow that he's gone and thankful that he is no longer suffering
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Mark and Mary Ann Gwin

Posted at 08:13am
Carol - so sorry for your (our) loss. Jack was a true renaissance man and he will be missed.

Lynne Friedmann

Posted at 12:44pm
I met Jack at precisely the same moment (30-some-odd years ago) that I met Carol, when my husband (Marc) set up a "blind date" couples dinner. Marc was working with Carol, who at the time was a freelance technical writer. I was a newlywed and new to San Diego, therefore, I'd not yet made any local friends of my own. This greatly concerned Marc and he wanted me to meet Carol, sensing we would hit it off. He certainly called that one right! Carol and Jack have been a part of our lives ever since. Jack Lewis was the definition of a "good man." He managed in spectacular fashion to overcome his humble beginnings and at the same time retained his down-to-earth good nature, curiosity, and unbridled joy in all that life had to offer. Our lives are better for knowing him. We miss him something fierce already. Our deepest condolences and all our love to Carol.

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