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Robert Roy Lewis

1962 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Robert Roy Lewis Obituary

Robert Roy Lewis, Jr. 52 of Salinas passed away Sunday, April 6, 2014. He was born March 12, 1962 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Robert was a free- spirited, hardworking artist and adventurer. He grew up with three brothers and two sisters in Yuba City, California. Between the ages of eighteen and twenty, Robert lived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

At age of twenty, he left his home and friends to join the French Foreign Legion. He was a Corporal stationed with the 4eme Regiment Etrangere, Castelnaudary, France, the 1er Regiment in Aubagne, France and 3eme Regiment Etrangere, French Guyana, S.A. During his career as a legionnaire, he served in diverse roles as a translator, combat company squad leader, cartoon illustrator and layout for the Kepi Blanc Magazine, and conservator and docent at the French Foreign Legion Museum. For his service he was awarded the Congressional Distinguished Unit award, 3REI, a citation from the Commandant of the French Foreign Legion and a National Defense Medal of France. Robert loved France and visited there many times over the years with family and friends.

After five and a half years as a legionnaire Robert returned to Northern California and married his most beloved Cynthia. They welcomed an amazing son, Blaise, two years later. Robert shifted gears to start a new career working with at-risk youth in Sacramento, Yuba City, and Salinas, California. When he decided to make a career change, he traveled to Kodiak, Alaska, and operated a purse seiner for the Thunderbolt. That experience led to his employment in the chandlery at the Monterey Bay Boatworks. Due to the economic downtown, Robert ceased to work on the Monterey Bay and transitioned to the position of Research Assistant for Colorado State University at Fort Hunter-Liggett. He was passionate about his position to restore native plants and trees to that environment.

It was apparent from an early age that Robert had a talent for art. He developed that talent over the years to oil painting. He exhibited in Martinique, Sacramento and Monterey. One of his sea life paintings won the Viewers Choice Award, Juried Oil Painting, at the 1998 Monterey County Fair. He volunteered for First Night Monterey to actively support the local art community.

Robert came down with the racing bug as a teenager who followed his uncle to the racetrack to watch him compete in drag races. For the past eight years, Robert was a dedicated volunteer at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. He was proud to represent the organization as an Assistant Director of Race Activities.

For a brief time Robert was a volunteer at the National Steinbeck Center. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting and greeting the visitors and being a French interpreter for those who required it.

More than anything Robert cherished the time he spent with his family and friends in the outdoors. They spent many days hiking and exploring in Coloma, Nevada City, Los Padres National Forest and Owens Valley. No matter where Robert traveled he brought along his keen sense of history and humor. He led us on urban hikes through Monterey and Paris, France. He entertained us with stories about important historical events, adding color and depth to the experience. As a member of E. Clampus Vitus, he lived his love of California history and fraternal companionship.

Robert loved the ocean and in 2003 his adventurous nature took him for a brief time to Kodiak, Alaska as a pilot on a skiff boat in the Gulf of Alaska. In Salinas, Robert shared his passion for the sea by taking wounded veterans on fishing trips. His respect for the sea was part of an overall concern for our environment. He created magical gardens in his backyard and shared the abundant produce with others. Robert was a strong advocate for environmental causes. This aligned perfectly with his most recent career as a research assistant for Colorado State University at Fort Hunter-Liggett.

Robert will be remembered for his magnetic smile, quick wit, adventurous spirit, generosity, courage and love of the planet, friends and family. There are no words to describe just how much he will be missed.

He is survived by wife, Cynthia Baker Lott of Salinas, son, Blaise Xavier Lewis of Portland, OR., brothers, Arthur (Tracy) Lewis of Placerville, CA., Kenneth Mark Lewis of Ft. Worth, TX., sisters, Julia Glee Hancock of Guinda, CA., Shawn-Ellen (Greg) Reeves of Long Beach, CA., mother and stepfather, Betty Sue (Mitchell) Kennerly of Rumsey, CA., and 14 nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Friday, April 11, 2014 from 3:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St. Salinas, CA., 93901.

Funeral Service will be Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St. Salinas, CA. 93901.

Donation can be made to Surf Rider Foundation, P.O. Box 6010, San Clemente, CA. 92674, California Native Plant Society, 2707 K Street 1, Sacramento, CA. 92674, Reading is Fundamental (RIP) P.O. Box 33728, Washington, DC 20033.

Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.

For more information and to share a memory visit www.struveandlaporte.com.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on Apr. 10, 2014
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