Bill Lewis was a man who loved mercy, sought justice, and walked humbly with God. His awareness of injustice began as a child growing up in New Mexico with a mother who was one-sixteenth Cherokee and an advocate of human rights for Native Americans.
He was there in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. He participated in the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965. He had a lifelong passion for wanting to help his country overcome hatred, prejudice, and injustice. Lewis died on January 25, five months after a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. He was 89.
Lewis studied electronics and served as an instructor in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1948. He entered university to study engineering but then transferred to Calvin College and Seminary.
Ordained in 1956, Lewis served Monsey (N.Y.) Christian Reformed Church and Hoboken (N.J.) CRC. While serving in Hoboken, Lewis attended Instituto De Lengua Espanol in San Jose, Costa Rica, and became fluent enough to preach in Spanish. He also completed a master’s degree in urban ministry from New York Theological College.
While serving as associate pastor at Olentangy CRC in Columbus, Ohio, Lewis established campus ministry at Ohio State University. He served numerous community and social organizations in the OSU campus area, including as a resource person in the area of biomedical ethics at the OSU College of Medicine. He developed many lifelong friendships with OSU students. In 1981, Lewis obtained a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. He retired in 1993.
Lewis lived a full life and had many interests—building and flying model airplanes and repairing and building all kinds of things. Photography was one of his hobbies; he received awards for some of his work.
Lewis is survived by his wife, Joanne; their five children, Joan, Mark, Todd, Jill, Rachel, and their spouses; and by 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.