James Richard Lewis
February 29, 1936 - November 10, 2020
Born to Sirmon Green Lewis and Mary Myrtle Gregory in Camilla, Georgia, Richard settled in Bagdad before World War II. The family lived on Forsyth Street, and he was shaped by the community for his entire life.
Richard was the youngest of six children, and with his passing, only his sister Joan Baxley remains. He graduated from Milton High School, Mercer University, Florida State University, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland. In 1958, Richard married his high school sweetheart, Betty June Bishop, and they had three children.
Richard and Betty began their careers in education in the public schools of Venice (Florida), and then moved to Frederick (Maryland). In 1982, Richard became deputy superintendent in Ft. Myers (Florida) and later in Yorktown (Virginia). He completed his career at Johns Hopkins University.
Richard and Betty retired to Bagdad to enjoy a plethora of hobbies ranging from fishing to sports cars, to woodworking and gardening. They put their hearts into the Bagdad Village Preservation Association, the Bagdad Mill Site Park, and the Bagdad Waterfronts Partnership. Betty developed cancer and passed in 2012.
In his later years, Richard was always good for a cruise, a trip to the casino, or entertaining an endless stream of visitors. Richard Lewis was a good man, honest and true, always encouraging others to reach their full potential. He found true love, served his community, raised a successful family, and pursued his many passions. He will live in the hearts of those who had the good fortune to know him.
He is survived by his son Tony Lewis, wife Jae-Hwa Shin, and children Colin and Christian Lewis; daughter Shelley Andrew, husband Bill Andrew, and children Benjamin and Sarah Andrew; and daughter Catherine Lewis, husband John Companiotte, and child Emma Companiotte; his sister Joan Baxley, his beloved dog, Lexi, and dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family and friends. Trahan Family Funeral Home assisted with the arrangements.
The family will host an outdoor, socially distanced memorial service with masks on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. at 6865 Allen Street in Bagdad. Donations in his honor can be made to the BVPA at P.O. Box 565, Bagdad, Florida, 32530.
Published in the Pensacola News Journal from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20, 2020.