Willis Darwin Lewis was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend.
He left this world at the age of 91 on July 28, 2023 surrounded by loved ones.
He was known by many names: Lewis, Willis, Wig, Willie D or Wil, Dad, Pop & Grandad; but had one loving heart. He had an effervescent personality, was an amazing story and joke teller, an encyclopedia of knowledge and the family historian.
Born to William and Katherine (née Murray) Lewis in Greer, West Virginia on Feb 27, 1932, he was the youngest of 13 children. He would often say that his parents had no more children after him because his dad had proclaimed that they had finally created “the perfect child”. His head of curly blond hair garnered him the nickname “Wig” by his WV family.
During the Korean War he enlisted in the Air Force and was eventually stationed in England. It was there that he met his beautiful future bride, Catherine Philomena Harvey-Jones, in Margate. They were married on October 18, 1953, in Margate, England.
In 1954, when his tour was up, he brought his English bride to the U.S.A. where they settled in Maryland and built a house of love, raising five children together.
Lewis was a devout family man, both to his children and to his WV family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his 12 siblings, his daughter, Philomena T. Lewis and his loving wife of 54 years, Catherine Philomena.
He is survived by daughter Elizabeth & husband Carlos Blandon of Frederick MD; son W. Damian Lewis of Linthicum, MD; daughter Gemma & husband Michael Reed of Edgewood, MD; son Phillip Lewis & wife Michelle of Bel Air; thirteen Grandchildren, Charles N Blandon, Celeste M Beulah (Cornelius), Danielle C Lewis (Asim), Lewis I Blandon, Rachel Arnold, Karla E Simpson (Floyd), Kathryn R McPhee (Kyle) Christopher J Lewis, Sean M Reed (Nicole) Andrea E Lewis, Andrew D Lewis, Caitlyn B Reed, Ryan M Reed (Rachel);
twelve Great-grandchildren, Adrianna, Madi, Dylan, Ethan, Jayden, Cylas, Isabella, Ayden, Nevaeh, Lilliana, Collin & Noah.
He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins on both sides of “the pond” who were so very dear to him. For many of his WV family he was not only an uncle, but a father figure. He looked forward every year to the annual Lewis/Murray reunion in Morgantown.
Willis was an avid reader and despite not graduating from high school was a man of vast knowledge. He was an expert speller and could tell a joke and tell a story like no other.
Willis was a proud fan of the NFL team the Pittsburgh Steelers. He proudly wore his Steeler jersey, even to church on Sunday during football season. He also loved watching baseball and was a supporter of the Baltimore Orioles. He enjoyed discussing baseball with his sons and son-laws. One of his fondest memories was going to the Baseball Hall of Fame with his sons-in-law.
After over 30 years of devoted employment he retired from Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point. He enjoyed his get-togethers at the Union Hall with all his fellow retirees from “The Point”.
He was a faithful member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Edgewood, MD. for 40 years. He volunteered with his wife at the annual POP Fiesta for years and enjoyed many a dance there! He was a member of the American Legion in Edgewood, MD.
Willis was a lover of classic country music, enjoying the songs of artists like Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty to name just a few. He created lasting memories for his family when he picked up his guitar and sang. He enjoyed a good game of poker with his WV family, his sons, and grandsons.
In their 40’s he and his wife took ballroom dance lessons, and from that time they were a delight to see glide across the floor.
Willis was blessed to have found love with two very special women.
His wife Philomena was his constant love, support, and best friend for over 54 years until her death in 2008. Her loss was devastating to him. In this last year of his life, he was blessed with the love and support of a very special lady, Nancy Via who was a joy in his life and a forever member of our family.
The viewing will be held at McComas Funeral Home in Abingdon.
Interment will be at the family cemetery, Nicholsons, in Morgantown, WV.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association or Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Edgewood, MD.