George W. Lewis
Merritt Island, FL
George W. Lewis, 76, passed away on February 27, 2014.
He was the youngest of six children born to Edgar Banks Lewis, Jr. and Eva Newsom Lewis in Tampa, FL on January 17, 1938. He was a third generation Floridian.
Moving to Brevard county in 1957, George quickly became involved in business and community organizations. While attending BCC, he worked for a florist and utilized this experience by owning A-1-A Surfside Florist & Gifts Shop in Cocoa Beach from 1962-1978. George was the 1971-1973 president of the Florida State Florist Association. He was the 1970 president of the Cocoa Beach area Chamber of Commerce and was awarded their distinquished service award in 1995. Beginning in 1968, he was a member of Patrick AFB's Civilian Military Council and was chosen Man of the Year in 1971. As president of the 1971 International Moonwalk Festival Association, he led in celebrating the first year of the lunar landing.
George was a member of the Cape Canaveral Hospital Board of Trustees for 39 years and served as chair for two terms: 1984-1985 and 2000-2001. He was the 1995 president of the Canaveral Hospital District Board and served on the Health First Corporate Board from 2007 to 2012.
In 1972, George became a real estate broker and served as the 1995 president of the Cape Kennedy Area Board of Realtors. In 1998, he was the vice president of the District II Florida Association of Realtors. He was a member of the Space Coast Association of Realtors and his office was with Re/Max Service Team in Merritt Island. He planned to continue working because he enjoyed helping people and staying involved in the community he loved.
In 1999, he was a nominee for Florida Today's Citizen of the Year. George was a past member of the Brevard Community College Foundation Board (1989-2008), the Jr. Achievement Board of East Central FL, Inc. (1990-2003) and Coastal Health Systems of Brevard.
In 2008, George competed in the "Dancing with Brevard" contest for the KLD Youth Foundation. Dancing the American Tango, he and his professional partner won and raised the highest amount of donations.
An enthusiastic ambassador for the Port Canaveral Port Authority, George mentioned the accessibility of the port to all when he traveled internationally. Over the years, he took many exciting trips to foreign countries. He would always champion the beauty of Brevard county and its diverse, friendly people. Everyone he met was encouraged to visit the area.
George was known for his elaborate decorations and floral arrangements for organizations he was always chosen to head decorating committees. Whether it was one of the port's terminals, a country club or other venues, he would transform them to match the theme. His two favorite hobbies were growing beautiful orchids and collecting statues of eagles.
He obtained licenses as a real estate broker, a mortgage broker and a building contractor. George was most proud of earning a private pilot's license and instrument rating for both single and multi-engine airplanes. Over a 15 year period, he and Stella would fly throughout the United States as well as to the Bahamas and Canada. In 1987, he experienced the ultimate thrill, receiving permission to co-pilot an Air Force OT37 A, a small two-seater jet aircraft used for training. After basic training at Patrick (the ejection seat and hanging from a parachute), he and the pilot took off to the practice area over the Cape. After, the pilot did a loop, a barrel-roll or a clover, George would do the same maneuver.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two brothers, Frank and Randolph Lewis and sister, Ruth Davies. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Stella: his two sons, Bill Lewis (Denise) and Jim Lewis (Cindy) and; his grandchildren, Leslie, Allison, Madeline, Nathan, Molly, Grace and Abby and two siblings, Martha Schulteis of Kansas and Edna LeGrow of Arkansas and; his precious three year old shih tzu, Buddy Bear.
A Memorial service will be held March 21, at 4:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Cocoa Beach, 3300 N. Atlantic Avenue.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider memorial donations to the Health First Foundation, 1350 S. Hickory St., Melbourne, FL 32901. You may sign George's guestbook at www.beckman-williamson.com.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY from Mar. 12 to Mar. 19, 2014