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David A. Lewis Obituary

David A. Lewis

The obituary published a few days ago for our father, David A. Lewis who died last week after a difficult battle with Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 96, was missing the first 75 years of his life.

His four years in the Navy during World War II were well documented, however, the decades of his successful life living in Corona Del Mar, CA in a big house a block from his beloved Pacific Ocean as he often stated, "the greatest time of his life" were absent. During the decades between 1955 and 1980 he carved out a career as a successful insurance salesman for Transamerica Insurance, then one of the premier insurance companies on the West Coast. His success led him to a promotion to open the Orange County territory, which he successfully managed for years, winning numerous sales awards, which took him to the Bahamas, to Europe and beyond. He subsequently served on the board of directors of Unico American Insurance where he developed a reputation as a fierce protector of company assets and the keeper of the corporate history.

He was not only a business man- he and his first wife Bernice raised two sons and a daughter. Although all siblings are grown now, they can look back to the extended family barbeques on the Fourth of July, entertaining guests from around the world as they sampled steak, beer and Balboa Island treats to excess! With the passing of his wife on July 27, 1997 David could begin an adventure that would take him to work in Yosemite, long a favorite destination.

Although David Lewis did not graduate from college he made it possible for his three children to attend the college of their choice, all three earning master's degrees or advanced business licenses. One of the children, relying on Dad's guidance and encouragement went on to make the Olympic Team twice, winning a gold medal in rowing (the first gold medal for USA in 50 years in that event) before becoming a well know author and rowing coach. His daughter was one of the first women California Highway Patrol officers before settling in a career in Education. Another son found success in the financial world, using David's mantra of "work hard now, enjoy life later".

David was not only a business savant and family man; he was also a champion runner. He picked up the running obsession in the mid-1960s and went on the great acclaim in the senior Olympics, winning many times in the 800-meter and the 1,600-meter races on the national and international stage. Even at the age of 90, he would grab onto a shopping cart and push his away around the local mall to get his exercise in and stay fit.

David was a complex man on some levels, which we believe stemmed from his relationship to his father, who was absent for much of his life. A recent DNA test filled in many the blanks!! It turns out his dad was an Ashkenazi Jew fleeing persecution in the old country. On the boat to the Klondike, he changed his name to Lewis from Louis and kept quiet about it. All this was unknown until the DNA test cracked the code and led to David's still living relatives in Europe. We wish he kept his mind long enough to realize the depth of his blood family. All your battles are over Dad- we pray you have finally found the peace and happiness you were searching for.

David's immediate family include sons Tracy (Sandy) Brad (Sonja) Valerie Hartmann (Daniel), grandchildren Skye, Jamey, Kelly Wright (Bobby), Russell, Carl, great grandchildren Mia, Lila, Elizabeth, nieces Carol Lewis, J.M. Leeming, Michelle, Teresa Sontag, nephew Mike Lewis and the newly discovered Pearlman and Joseph families and dear friends Kathy Bubash and Ed Ascoli.

Published in Bakersfield Californian on July 11, 2018
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