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JOHN M. LEWIS

JOHN M. LEWIS Obituary
LEWIS, John M. Newbury Street Jeweler, Staunch Environmentalist, at 87 John M. Lewis, Newbury Street jeweler and prominent environmentalist, died quietly in Boston on Easter Sunday, April 21st. A gifted jewelry designer, he and his late wife Louise opened their first store in Ogunquit, Maine in the 60s before moving on to Newbury Street in the early 70s where the store prospered until the closing of its doors in December of 2018. John stood out in his field for his sensitivity to metal and stone and his original designs which had a wide following of admirers.

John and his wife Louise were founding members of the New England Chapter of the Sierra Club where they worked tirelessly to promote equitable transportation choices and open space access in Boston and across the Commonwealth. They were instrumental in establishing funding to study the North-South Rail Link, as well as enforcing key Clean Air Act provisions related to the Central Artery project, and in the redesign of the Charles River crossing. John was a passionate advocate for transportation justice and worked for many years alongside community leaders to fight the Commonwealth's dismantling of light rail service in Dorchester and Roxbury. As early advocates and lobbyists for cleanup and protection of the Boston Harbor, John and Louise helped establish the Boston Harbor Islands and surrounding waters as a state park long prior to their designation as a national recreation area.

John served on the Boston Conservation Commission for 43 years. In the late 1960s John and Louise were instrumental in protecting vital areas of the Boston waterfront by promoting environmentally responsive development. Together with Club members, including architects Gerry Ives and Bill Lamb, they successfully transformed the city's plans to construct a high-rise, parking lots, and roads into a more environmentally-informed design with a lower profile to avoid shading in parks or walkways. This effort helped establish the "Walk to the Sea" as part of expanded green space which ultimately became Christopher Columbus Park. This alternate plan further influenced open space planning for the Central Artery project, helping to create the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a monument to the greening of urban neighborhoods.

John grew up in Weston, Massachusetts, the son of MIT professor Frank M. Lewis and Marie Eckes Lewis. An original thinker from the start, he and his wife Louise began their married life in 1955 with a nine-month honeymoon in which they traveled from Naples to Paris on bicycles. They returned to Europe a few years later and purchased a 35-foot Bristol Channel Cutter which they then sailed across the Atlantic via Spain, the Canaries and the West Indies. Following the opening of their Boston store, they docked their boat on the Boston waterfront and made it their home, crossing daily for many decades the business district and Boston Gardens on their way to and from the shop.

Both had a keen interest in Baroque music and were supporters of the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge Society for Early Music and the Vivaldi Edition recording project in Paris.

John is survived by his brother George Lewis of Washington State, his niece Nancy Lewis-Williams, nephews Peter and Craig Lewis, as well as brother-in-law Marty Silbert and his daughters Ellen Silbert and Pamela Silbert Loftus.

A Memorial Service will be held on July 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM at the Christopher Columbus Park, Boston. Memorial donations can be made to: Massachusetts Sierra Club, John Lewis Conservation Fund, 50 Federal Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110.

View the online memorial for John M. LEWIS
Published in The Boston Globe on May 19, 2019
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