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Thomas "Tom" Lewis

1934 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Thomas "Tom" Lewis Obituary
Thomas Evans "Tom" Lewis

New Bern

Thomas Evans "Tom" Lewis, 81, of Washington Post Road, New Bern, NC, died on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at his home.

Tom was born in Rocky Mount, NC, on October 3, 1934, to the late Johnny Thomas Lewis and Carolyn Fryer Lewis.

Tom grew up in Rocky Mount where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout with 39 Merit Badges. Much of his youth was spent in New Bern. After graduating from New Bern High School in 1953, he studied music at both East Carolina College in Greenville, NC, and at George Peabody College in Nashville, TN, and later continued his studies at Stuttgart University in Stuttgart, Germany, and at Berlin University in Berlin as well as post-graduate studies with the American Symphony Orchestra League.

Tom got his start as a Symphony Orchestra Conductor while touring with the famous 7th Army Symphony in Germany. He returned to the US to complete his 38-year career as Music Director and Conductor for orchestras in Charlotte, NC, Roswell, NM, Rochester, MN, Tulsa, OK, and Sioux City, IA.

Always an advocate for music education in the schools, he worked closely with colleges, public schools, and community programs on the local and national level to encourage interest in music and to keep music education in schools.

After his retirement from conducting in 1995, he returned to New Bern, NC, to focus on a writing career which culminated in nine published novels and a book of short stories for which he won acclaim and many awards.

Tom enjoyed working with aspiring writers and often visited schools and youth groups to encourage and promote reading and writing. He was frequently a guest lecturer for book clubs and community groups.

Tom was a veteran of the US Army, a former member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, Vice President and Member of the Conductors Guild of America. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha fraternity at both East Carolina College and George Peabody College, a member of Rotary International, NC Writers Network, Maxine Harker's Writing For Publication Group, Carteret Writers Inc, and Friends of Craven Library along with many other arts councils, museum boards, library boards, and music organizations. He helped organize and facilitate the first New Bern Literary Symposium. He loved sports and was an avid golfer.

He is survived by his wife, Ila M. White-Lewis of New Bern, NC, three sisters; Georgia Lewis, Linda L. David and husband Don of Albany, Oregon, and Diane L. Johnson and husband Ralph of Jamesville, NC; two sons: Erik Lewis and wife Mili of Peach Tree City, Georgia, and Tony Lewis and wife Julie and grandson, John Lewis, of Sioux City, Iowa. Step-children are: Andy White of Greenville, NC, and Alice Copeland and husband Kelly of Hertford, NC. Step grand-children; include Kelsey Booth, Jordan Garrett, Katie and Allison Copeland, Kevin Dee, and Lucas Dee.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. July 6, 2016 at Beech Grove United Methodist Church with Reverend Connie Stutts officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beech Grove United Methodist Church 1035 Washington Post Rd., New Bern, NC or to Craven County Hospice Care.

The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at Carolina East Int. Med in Pollocksville, to Dr. Richard Gorman for his care through the years and to the staff and nurses at CCHC New Bern Cancer Care.

Online condolences can be made by visiting


Arrangements by Cotten Funeral Home.
Published in The News & Observer on June 30, 2016
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