Harry Joseph Lewis, "Joe" to all who knew him, passed away peacefully at his home in Brooktrails on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. He was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley.
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Joe was a decorated Vietnam veteran, the recipient of two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor.
Joe worked for many years in sales and was one of the earliest advocates of solar energy in the early 1970s in Los Angeles. He was proud of his achievements in the field of alternative energy, although frustrated at the slow pace of change.
He also was an accomplished sailor and a very talented oil painter. Joe spent years sailing off the coast of Southern California and loved to teach his friends to sail. His paintings reflect both the beauty and the pain he saw and experienced in his life.
Joe cared deeply about veterans, especially young veterans who were struggling to adjust to "coming home." He suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and worked hard to reach a place of ease.
Joe participated in the Veterans Group at the Ukiah VA, and always offered a helping hand to any veteran that he met.
Joe will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him, especially his wife of almost 38 years, Jerri; his sister Penny Sannella of Cambria; and his close friends, who were a part of his extended family.
He lived with great courage and died with a grace and dignity that was beautiful to behold. He made arrangements for his body to be donated to the University of California, San Francisco. He believed in the tenants of Buddhism and the laws of physics, and knew his soul was destined to find its place in the cosmos.
Donations in his memory can be made to Fisher House, an organization he supported for many years, that provides free housing for the families of wounded veterans at the hospitals where veterans are cared for: www.fisherhouse,org.
95 W. Commercial Street Willits, CA 95490
Published in Willits News from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23, 2012