William 'Bill' Franklyn Lewis, 73
In loving memory of our Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Friend and the most giving man on earth, William "Bill" Franklyn Lewis.
Bill, 73, of Blackfoot passed away on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, after a short fight with Multiple System Atrophy (Parkinson Plus) at the Gables in Pocatello surrounded by his family.
He was born on Aug. 12, 1937, in Bridgeport, Conn., to Floyd Uriah Lewis and Helen Amelia Braerman.
Growing up in Bridgeport, Bill lived in a house that had tunnels underneath the home leading to other properties. It was the days of Prohibition, and the stories of him and his brother, George, playing in those tunnels were very interesting to listen to.
Bill was active in his Methodist Church and 4-H as a child. Bill was the youngest of six children.
While growing up in Bridgeport, Bill started working at the age of 13 years old for his dad’s furnace cleaning business, Triple A Furnace Company. His dad would put a block on the seat so Bill could see over the steering wheel and reach the gas pedal. As the truck needed moving, Bill would drive the truck. As a child he was very intrigued with mechanics. Instead of going to the typical high school, he chose to go to trade school where he excelled in mechanics.
At the age of 16, Bill and his two brothers built a hotrod from spare stock car parts. It took them seven months and $2,500. The next cheapest car entered in the hotrod car show cost $38,000. The car was built for speed and just in time for the Annual Autorama Car Drags in Hartford, Conn. A 1932 Ford chassis - it contained Ford, Lincoln, Chevy, Buick, Mercury, Hudson and even a Mack bus parts. ADDITIONAL PARTS THAT WERE NEEDED TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION AND PUT THE CAR IN THE HOTROD COOL CAR FIELD WERE DESIGNED AND MADE BY BILL, 16 YEARS OLD AND A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL AT THE TIME. This was the beginning of many accomplishments for Bill in his lifetime. At 17 years of age, Bill left Bullard Haven Trade School where he was studying to be a mechanic. With only one month to go before graduation, he joined the submarine service of the United States Navy. Bill's naval career took him from coast to coast and worldwide, including Japan, Vietnam, Alaska, the Philippines and Hawaii. He advanced to the rank of master chief machinist mate and retired at the young age of 37.
Driven and disciplined he started a new career at the INL, where he worked for the next 20 years, retiring in 1995 from his position as a manager at the TRA Facility Landlord Operations.
Never one to sit around, from 2002-2008 he worked for his daughter and son-in-law in their company, Portneuf Electric, Inc,. until he became ill.
When he was a young man he met the love of his life, Shirley Irene Tanner (Rowe), and they were inseparable unless his career called him away from home. He was by her side during her successful battle with cancer, and they celebrated 50 years of marriage on April 20, 2011. Together they raised five children, and they were the most dedicated grandparents. Rain, snow or sun, they never missed a grandchild’s event.
After retiring they enjoyed traveling, taking cruises and visiting family. It was important to keep in touch with their extended family, so he took every opportunity to take the five kids and wife to Minneapolis to see Shirley's family or Connecticut and Massachusetts to see his. Bill loved being involved in his family by sharing the experiences of camping, boating, fishing, snow machining and traveling. He was always available to help any friend in need. He will be missed; he set a great legacy to follow.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters Romaine (Tom) Morgan, Betty (Wm) Kidd and Helen (Paul) Young. He is survived by his brothers George (Susan) Lewis and Jay (Barbara) Lewis. He leaves his wife Shirley Irene Tanner Lewis; children Carla (Dean) Benson, Jeffrey Rowe, Guy (Jacquie) Lewis, Shane Lewis and Terri (Brett) Harris. He also leaves 12 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the angels that were brought into his life the last five months. Angie and her staff at the Gables in Pocatello.
The funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, at the Hawker Funeral Home, 132 South Shilling Avenue, Blackfoot. The family will receive visitors from 1-3 p.m. prior to the services at the funeral home.
Condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interment will be in the Riverside-Thomas Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Creekside Hospice or Michael J. Fox Foundation.