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In loving memory of
William Lewis Jr
  • May 28, 1935
  • -
  • February 06, 2019

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Obituary

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.

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  1. 16 Feb 2019
    Erin posted an image:
    Words can’t describe how much Bill meant to me. Never a dull moment with him. His sense of humor kept me laughing for days.  His wisdom never went unlearned. My heart laid very heavy as he left us. Also happy he is at peace and able to be with his wife Kay. Bill you will be missed, my days will never be the same. I promise you will never be forgotten. Love you Bill
    Words can’t describe how much Bill meant to me. Never a dull moment with him. His sense of humor kept me laughing for days. His wisdom never went unlearned. My heart laid very heavy as he left us. Also happy he is at peace and able to be with his wife Kay. Bill you will be missed, my days will never be the same. I promise you will never be forgotten. Love you Bill

  2. 16 Feb 2019
    Erin posted an image:


  3. 09 Feb 2019
    Cheryl Braswell says:
    Bill, I loved you for so many years. The thought of you brought Sunshine to mind, and I was always happy and carefree in your presence. Thank you for being one of the few men in my life that I fully trusted and felt at ease with. You were such a positive and loving father figure for me! I am happy to have witnessed the true love story of Bill and Kay and to know that such love existed. I believe you are happy now, perhaps sharing a glass of wine with your true love... and I can still see that sparkle in your eye! Have a wonderful journey! I will miss you but will cherish so many precious memories

  4. 09 Feb 2019
    Robin Stephenson Warfield says:
    Uncle Bill always pushed me to do better, because he understood the potential in those around him. I remember distinctly when I was seven years old, and I had just drawn a picture of a house, a tree, and clouds floating in the sky. I presented it to him with pride, and he looked at it carefully. "What is in between the sky and the earth?" he asked. I looked back at my drawing; I had always drawn a blue line at the top of my page to indicate "sky" with an expanse of white between it and the green grass below. "Look outside," he prompted. I learned that day that there is no gap between the earth and the sky. He took the time to shift my perspective when other adults in my life merely said, "good job." He cared about my understanding of the world. Once, when I was still very young, I cried about all the fish we had caught on the boat that day and the fact that we were going to eat them. Bill tossed them all back in the ocean for me and we had something different for dinner that night. Uncle Bill, you will be missed so much. Thank you for showing me the sweetness in life.

  5. 08 Feb 2019
    Scott Stephenson says:
    A few memories and things I learned from Uncle Bill:
    - his way of seeing people that was just so sharp
    - his sense of humor that always felt conspiratorial, like only he and I were in on the joke
    - he told great stories, but he never told me the same one twice
    - watching him, I learned that a toothpick was a utensil just as useful as a fork
    - If we didn’t catch a fish we’d substituted by “catching" a coconut from the canals
    - if you eat too many mangoes you need more toilet paper
    - it’s fine to have white wine with breakfast, even if it’s not a special occasion
    - vanilla ice cream with grape nuts, chocolate syrup, and Kahlua is amazing
    - Blackened doesn’t mean burnt (I never had blackened anything before Kay and Bill cooked some shark for us that way)
    - you don’t have to go fast if you plan well
    - the best way to diffuse tension is with humor

    I love him and I’ll miss him - he was a bigger influence on me than he ever knew.

  6. 08 Feb 2019
    Buddy Gupton posted an image:
    Bill - another day in paradise
    Bill - another day in paradise