Fred Lewis Frederic James Lewis, 91, left this wonderful life to enter a far better one on June 26, 2012. He was born in Manhattan, Montana on December 7, 1920, the youngest child of three boys whose parents were Elisha Martin Lewis and Nora Ellen Farmer Lewis. Fred and family moved to The Dalles, Oregon when he was two, and a few years later they settled down in LaGrande, Oregon where he went to school, graduating from high school. He joined the Air Force when he was seventeen. After one year and an honorable discharge, he joined the armed services again, soon after World War II broke out. It was during this enlistment that his band's exclusive duties were to raise service men's morale by playing in dance bands and concerts for them in addition to accompanying famous entertainers visiting from "the states" plus marching all around large bases daily, playing the music for arising and retiring, taps, etc. in a band. His band was moved to many far away and exotic places. Mainly he served in the CBI (China, Burma and India) War Theatre. When the Second World War ended, another honorable discharge brought him home to LaGrande, Oregon where he attended Eastern Oregon College. It was here where he acted as official photographer for the school's yearbook and various activities. He also established himself in LaGrande's Chamber of Commerce and worked as a professional photographer. Right after his 1948 marriage to Nola Rae Tucker, the couple moved to continue his education. He studied at Elkhart, Indiana, the University of Oregon and finally at the University of Southern California. Until his formal education was complete, his expenses were paid for by the government's GI Bill. It was at USC where he achieved a MA and an MS, both in Music Education. Fred found immediate employment as a public school instrumental music teacher in Tulare, California where he taught from 1952 until retirement. He especially enjoyed working at his four main hobbies: teaching and performing music, with seldom a Saturday, but what he played with commercial dance bands until well after retirement; photography as he took pictures, then developed prints of them; woodworking, having made three "hope" chests and all the chests of drawers, end tables, and book shelves in his home; and finally vegetable gardening, driving his wife nearly mad with his over abundant gifts of fresh vegetables. Everyone appreciated Fred's strong sense of responsibility and his propensity to be on time wherever he was expected. He had a steel trap memory and was a well read man who could hold an intelligent conversation with nearly anyone. In his retirement years, the development of emphysema severely limited his activities; although, as an expert driver, he enjoyed taking and returning his family to and from their appointments and activities. Survivors are his wife of 64 years, Nola Rae Lewis, the ten children, one or two at a time, the couple foster parented and his three daughters, their husbands and children: Susan Lewis Smykal Johnson and Barry, children Bryan, Esten and Crysten; along with a great-grandson, Eli; Wendy Lewis Laugenour and Chris with children Jarrod and Kelly; and finally, Lorna Lewis Sartuche and Fredrick, Jr., with children Daniel and Elizabeth. Services will be private as his family bids him farewell. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to
. Final arrangements were made by the Neptune Society.
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Published in Tulare Adv-Register on July 3, 2012