William Lewis
January 6, 2015

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  William Lewis, a man of faith, family, country, and community passed away after a short illness on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. He was 89 years old.

Bill was born in Marlborough. He grew up in Chelsea and Everett and graduated from Everett High School. He enlisted in the US Navy at the age of 17 to fight in World War II. He held the rank of Seaman First Class. He was aboard the Gunfire Support Craft-LCT 2049 during Operation Neptune (Normandy Landings) on June 6, of 1944. The LCT’s carried the armored vehicles and men to the beaches of Normandy. William’s LCT 2049 was lost during the Battle, but Bill survived. He received the European Theater Medal with 1 Star, the American Area Medal, Asiatic –Pacific Ribbon, Certificate of Merit, and World War Victory Medal. Bill was proud of his service to his country and continued his support as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Burlington where he served as Commander for several terms and Finance Officer. He also was a member of the American Legion in Woodsville, NH.
After his discharge from the Navy in December of 1945, Bill went to College earning his Associates Degree from Wentworth University and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Northeastern University. He worked as an industrial engineer for most of his career at a number of companies including ITEK, Sunbeam, and Textron. He worked mainly on military and space projects. Bill had a strong Catholic Faith. He was extremely active parishioner at Saint Malachy’s Church where he served his God as a Eucharistic Minister, Lecturer, and Religious Education teacher. He was also a Eucharistic minister at the Lahey Clinic Hospital visiting patients after Sunday Mass, offering communion, and comforting words and prayers. Bill was also extremely active in the Catholic men’s fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Third and Fourth Degrees of the K of C and served as Grand Knight in Saugus and as a member in Burlington. Bill was a loving husband to his wife Peg for more than 64 years. They shared their faith and raised their children to have strong values and convictions. He used his faith as his guide, putting the needs of others before himself to make the world a better place. He will always be remembered and loved.

Bill was the beloved husband of Margaret “Peg” (Hussey) Lewis. He was the loving father of William J. of Burlington, Margaret M. Houlne & her husband Daniel V. of Tyngsboro, Mary K. Tyler & her husband Robert of Bath, NH, Katherine M. Fitzgerald & her husband James of Bath, NH and John M. & his wife Julie of Brookline, NH. He was the brother of Mary Deasy of Derry, NH, Andrew Hanson of Baldwinville, and the late Elaine Medige and Ronald Hanson. He was the proud grandfather of Sarah A. Pieroni & her husband Steven, Kyle D. Reynolds & his fiancée Marla Pasquerello, Anne T. Howells & her husband James, David B., Caitlin R. & John P. Reynolds, Erin K. and Rachel E. Clegg, Augustine J. and Bernadette M. Lewis and great grandfather of Jason J. Clegg, Taylor Sartwell, Ivy Rose Reynolds, Annelise C. Pieroni, and Ella M. Howells.

Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Monday, Jan. 12 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Malachy Church, 99 Bedford St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Sunday 3-6 p.m. Interment in St. Joseph Cemetery, Lynn. Memorials in Bill’s name may be made to New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, 17 Court St., Boston, MA 02108

Family Rembrance by John Lewis

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m John Lewis, Bill’s son. I want to thank you all today for joining us to celebrate my father’s life.

Our Dad was many things to many people. Dad, Grampa, Papa, Uncle Bill, Bill, whatever we called him during his life, I know he has made a strong impact on each of us here today, and that we each have unique thoughts and memories of him.

I could tell a hundred different stories of how wonderful our Dad was. Stories that might make us laugh or cry. How some of the earliest memories we have of our Dad were his love of music, dancing and people. How he was gregarious and positive. I could tell stories about faith, bravery, service to others, optimism, and hope.

How when life got hard, Dad’s favorite saying was “No problem.” How he lost his own Dad when he was 14 months old, and grew up during the depression. How he signed up for the Navy as soon as he got out of high school and fought on D Day. What he wrote in letters home to his mom while deployed. How he faced many layoffs during his career. How he had to continuously reinvent himself to provide for our family. How he sold Rainbows, burglar alarms, insurance, and even bras for a while – always maintaining a steadfastly positive outlook on life.

I could tell you how he was a man who really loved life. How he never hesitated to sing out loud, tap his feet to the music, dance if appropriate, or not, or reach out and grab someone, maybe even someone he never met before, for a big hug or a kiss on the cheek.

How he spent the later years of his life caring for the love of his life. And even when he found out he had only a few months to live, how he said, “Well, everybody’s got to die of something. I just want to take care of your mom as long as I can.”

I could tell you what it was like to be his son. How he delighted in me, and always made me feel beloved. But instead, I think my Dad would most appreciate as a tribute to his life, something a little more enlightening about how he wanted us all to live.

I don’t think anyone would argue our Dad always made strong, positive, first impressions on everyone he met, and that there was something very special about him. I’m sure we have each perceived it in our own ways. But to me, what really made Dad special was that he understood how to live a God-centered life. He always put God, Country, family and community before himself, in that order, and encouraged each of us to do the same throughout his life.

I think what most people pick up on when they first meet him is his love. His love was selfless and unconditional, and it was guided by his faith. He tried his best to love others, the same way he knew that God loved him. And he was good at it. He had a way of making everyone feel important, accepted and included.

But there was another side to Dad that I think he would want me to mention today. Of course he was a lover, but I think he would also like us to remember him as a fighter, a warrior for Christ. Many of us at one time or another have probably witnessed the intensity and fierceness with which he held his convictions. An intensity I believe was not misguided.

Though he clearly understood Christ’s love and compassion, he also understood Jesus the Lion of Judah: The Jesus that came to change the status quo. The Jesus that questioned authority. The Jesus that turned over tables in the temple. And the Jesus that publicly called out hypocrites, and fought for the hearts of mankind.

Maybe it was because he lost his father as a child, grew up in the depression and went to war to defeat one of the most evil men in history, but my Dad lived his life with strength and purpose, as if he played an important role in an epic battle.

He had a unique situational awareness of the evil in the world today, and how it works to take out the broken hearted on a daily basis. He knew that this enemy uses our apathy, desires, and the things we tell ourselves to justify our actions, to subdue each of us on a very personal level. He believed evil would continue to prevail as long as we continue to follow the self-first philosophy.

It is clear to me that a big part my Dad’s life was to call each of us to resist these assaults, and battle with him as brothers and sisters in Christ. I think one way that Dad maintained his optimism amidst adversity was by taking every assault leveled against him as a compliment. He knew the greater the assault, the greater the threat he was to the enemy.

He believed that to be good warriors, we must humble ourselves, turn our lives over to Christ, and depend on God for strength. He believed the choices we make determine the story we live. And he called us all to action, to be with him, together, bringing all of our strengths to the table for the greater good of God. In one of Dad’s recent essays he noted, and I quote, “If we could just turn to Gods’ ways, make him the center of our life, and choose to do Gods’ will many of the problems of the world would disappear.”

St. John Chrysostom once wrote that, while the ones we love and lose are no longer where they were, they are now and forever more wherever we are. We love you Dad, and will miss you, even while we forever carry you in our hearts.

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