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William “Bill” Harold Lewis, Jr. May 28, 1935 – February 6, 2019
Bill lived the dream. He was a rocket scientist, world traveler, sports car enthusiast, amateur tour boat captain, married to his soulmate for over forty years, and overall “cool dude” before the term even existed. Probably his favorite “gig” was the twenty-six years he spent as the unofficial “First Citizen of First Street” in Ft. Myers.
Born into a loving family in Waxahachie, Texas, Bill demonstrated his engineering skills early on by building a fleet of model airplanes from balsa wood, paper, and airplane “dope”. As soon as he graduated from Texas A&M, he bought a brand new 1957 Chevy with a V-8 and blasted off to Seattle to work for Boeing aircraft.
Cape Canaveral was the cutting-edge of technology in 1960 and Bill went there to work with Boeing and NASA. By that time, he had switched to a Porsche which was better suited to outrunning his friends on the backroads of the Cape. At about the same time, a petite young lady from a small town in North Carolina followed her dream to the Cape. When Kay Buffaloe met Bill, she told her friends, “That Texan is going to be mine.” A year later they were married and turned out to be the perfect team for many future adventures.
Bill and Kay knew that they had found their true home in Florida. From Cape Canaveral to Bradenton to
Pine Island, they found the ideal spot for their “final” retirement beside the Caloosahatchee River in Ft.
Myers. Bill made it his mission to sidewalk-superintend the revitalization of downtown from 1993 to
2019. He supported virtually every restaurant in the area and invested in them one glass of wine at a
time. Bill’s established route included Joe’s Crab Shack, Ford’s Garage, The Lodge, Sky Bar, Cabo
Cantina, Pinchers, and his next-door neighbor, King’s Kitchen. Bill’s new extended family continued to
grow and look out for him after Kay passed away.
Bill was surrounded by family and friends when he got the call: The Big Happy Hour in the Sky was
having two-for-one white wine and Bill went. He lived a fantastic life and touched many hearts. Bill’s
departure leaves us feeling sad but better off for having known him.
There will be a family service to carry out Bill’s wish to have his ashes scattered on the Gulf. He will be
reunited with his true love, Kay, and his parents who went before him.
Surviving Bill are: brother George Lewis, George’s wife, Suzi, and children Greg Lewis (wife Debbie), Kim
Strange (husband Chris and daughter Amber), and Karen Hinton (husband John and children Tristan and
Hunter); niece Carol Gupton (husband Buddy and son Joe, Joe’s children Emma and Nick); nephew David
Stephenson (wife Cheryl and children Robin and Scott, Scott’s children Evan and Avery).
Arrangements provided by Baldwin Brothers Funeral & Cremation Society, Fort Myers.