Dr. Robert Alan Lewis, 80, research scientist, government project manager, educator, and author died on 27 October, 2013 at his home in Frederick, Maryland. He had been ill with esophageal cancer for about two years. Dr. Lewis was born on 23 April, 1933 in Chillicothe, Ohio, the youngest child of Clarence A. and Ethel Hamm Lewis. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Dr. Carolyn W. Lewis; their daughter, Cynthia, of Seattle, Washington; a sister, Arthelia M. Kulow and her husband Frank of Bailey, Colorado; a brother-in-law, Jack E. Weber and his wife, Marie, of the Fort Valley, Virginia; 2 nephews and 4 nieces. Two brothers, Albert and Adam predeceased Dr. Lewis.|
He earned his BR from the Ohio State University, his MS from Rutgers University, and his PhD from the University of Washington. As a Senior Research Associate at the University of Washington he conducted research in neuroendocrinology and served as Acting Director of the Avian Physiology Laboratory.
Dr. Lewis directed operations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Animal Physiology Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon. He planned and directed the EPA's Colstrip, Montana, Coal-Fired Power Plant Project and worked with other senior scientists in the first serious attempt to assess the impact of air pollution on ecosystems. A research tool, Zonal Air Pollution System (ZAPS), was devised and used to measure experimentally the effects of certain gaseous pollutants on crops during growing seasons in the northern Great Plains; ZAPS has been used also in Canada and the Netherlands.
While at the U.S. Department of Energy in Germantown, Maryland, he managed numerous programs dealing with the impacts of fossil fuels, the development of coal synthetic fuels, toxic chemicals, specimen banking, and energy conservation technologies. He served on many governmental and international task forces, boards, and committees, including the President's Water Policy Study, the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program, and the United Nations Environmental Program.
Dr. Lewis served as Professor and Chair, Department of Biogeography at the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany. At the request of the German government, Dr. Lewis developed the guidelines for that nation's environmental specimen banking program and wrote them in the German language. This program involves the long-term storage of animal, plant, and human tissues for use in retrospective analysis to identify chemical contaminants of the environment, describe trends, and support research to determine effects on ecosystems and human health. He was also a zoology PhD thesis advisor for the University of Vanares, India.
In addition to many reports, peer-reviewed research papers and several books, Dr. Lewis is the author of the massive and widely-used Lewis' Dictionary of Toxicology. A final book, Lewis' Dictionary of Contemporary Chemistry, is expected to be published postmortem by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Dr. Lewis was proud of his service as a young man in the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne, where he trained as a paratrooper and also served as Acting Chief of Division, Surgeons Section. As a retiree he served in the Maryland Defense Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer, Medical Command.
A military funeral will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, 9 November, in the Chapel Mausoleum of Resthaven Memorial Gardens, 9501 U.S. Route 15 N, Frederick, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
Published in The Frederick News-Post on Oct. 30, 2013