Theodore Arthur Lewis, Jr, 95, of Ft. Myers, Florida died peacefully with family members by his side on May 1, 2021.
Ted was born on March 22, 1926 in New Castle Pennsylvania to Theodore and Louise Lewis.
He graduated from New Castle High School, an honor student, a football star and Class Treasurer. At the age of 18 he began his service in the United States Air Force during World War II. He flew 25 missions in the Pacific, remarkably within a four month period. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal.
He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and went on to get his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. He married Margaret Gilfillan from New Castle and they had three children.
Ted’s long and successful career in social work spanned over 55 years. He dedicated his life’s work to developing programs and facilities that would improve the family life and education of at-risk children. In his early years in social work, he was the program director for teen activities in three different settlement houses in Rochester New York and in New York City. The next 15 years, Ted worked as the CEO at the Bronx River Settlement Houses in NYC and was CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of NYC. During this time he married Judith Geckeler of Middletown, Ohio and they had two children. They moved to Michigan where Ted became the CEO of Children’s Center in Detroit for the next 30 years. When he retired at the age of 80, he had received many awards and recognition for his outstanding leadership and accomplishments. He always gratefully acknowledged the hard work of the staff and Board members for their combined efforts in achieving the goals of the organization. Ted maintained many lifelong friendships with people from his hometown, the Air Force and his work.
Ted loved his family, music, Broadway shows, sports, games and gardening. He had a vast knowledge of music artists and their work. He quizzed family members about their favorite songs and even created a game based on his celebrity musical knowledge. He enjoyed Broadway shows and attended hundreds of musical shows and concerts over the years. He was an excellent tennis player, loved watching football and was always ready for a game of bridge or Scrabble. His favorite times were beach vacations with family, many happy memories.
Ted had two sisters and one brother, Lorraine (deceased), Richard (deceased) and Nancy. Ted is survived by his wife, Judy, his five children, Deborah, Christopher, Duff, Kira and Corey, their spouses, 13 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Donations in his memory may be given to one or more of the following:
PIMA Air and Space Museum
6000 E Valencia Rd
Tucson, AZ 85756
National WASP WWII Museum (Women Air Force Service Pilots)
210 Avenger Field Rd.
Sweetwater, TX 79556
Miami Book Fair at Miami Dade College
300 NE 2nd Ave #1423
Miami. FL 33132
Project Medishare for Haiti