Albert LewisFebruary 17, 1923 ~ January 7, 2018 (age 94)
Albert Lewis passed away peacefully on January 7, 2018 at the Hallmark Nursing Center in Denver, CO. he was 94 years old. Dad was born on February 17, 1923 to Will Lewis and Florine Little in Straight Creek, KY. The name was later changed to Pineville, KY. Will was a coal miner and Florine was a housewife (domestic engineer). Dad was the youngest of 12 children and was the only surviving member of the siblings when he left us. Will was killed in a mine accident when dad was 1 year old and Florine struggled to make ends meet for the family but did her best. Since the town was owned by the coal company, Florine was forced to move her family and settled in Cincinnati, OH. The family was having a hard time financially so when dad was 13 he left to work and live at the YMCA. He was a very good athlete and eventually was able to train students in gymnastics and swimming while putting himself through school. He graduated from Woodward High School in 1941 and began working several jobs. It was this life-experience that motivated and drove him to be successful the rest of his life. He always told us kids that he worked hard so he would never be poor again. Dad went on to attend Ohio State University and after moving to Colorado, graduated from Denver University. Albert had a distinguished career in Labor Relations with The Gruen Watch Co., C A Norgren Co. (IMI Norgren) and Ball Corp. Dad always believed that if you treated and compensated employees fairly, there was no need for unions to represent them. That philosophy remained true since he never lost a vote to union organizers and there were many that tried. Another of his career highlights was the establishment of the four day work week at Norgren in the early nineteen seventy’s. Since this was one of the first major companies to make this change in the country, he and his executive team were written up in Life Magazine. Not only did the employees enjoy the extra day off but it was an excellent recruiting advantage and certain areas of the company still use it today. He retired from Ball Corp. in 1984. After retirement Mom and Dad became snowbirds and spent many winters in Arizona, it was nice for the kids to visit and get out of the cold and we were always welcome. They also enjoyed traveling by car, plane and ship and visited many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
He met Mary Jane Kahny, the love of his life in Cincinnati in 1942 and they were married December 18,1943 and were happy for 66 years until her death in June of 2010. They had five children: Dale Lewis, Rocky Mount, NC, Steven Lewis, Parker CO, Gary Lewis, predeceased, Jeffery Lewis, Mesa AZ and Kimberle Grant, Windsor, CO. There are also 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Dad served in the Navy from 1944-46 and was stationed on Guam. After the island was taken from the Japanese, it became an R and R (rest and relaxation) facility for soldiers returning from battle. Dad was the Activity Director and organized sporting events and other activities for these soldiers to help them recover from the horrors they had experienced in battle. He was awarded several commendations during his tour of duty.
Our Dad was a wonderful provider and enjoyed attending and watching all of the kids play sports and especially when Kim became a competitive ice skater and traveled to national competitions. He also would enjoy a cocktail and on occasion would have one too many and we always knew when he was out early shooting hoops in the driveway that he was trying to recover. That was the best time to try to beat him in a game of “horse”. Dad was and always remained very competitive. He was a very good card player and on one trip to Nevada won over $10,000 playing blackjack in one sitting. I believe he taught us gin rummy so he would always have a game to fall back on that he could win. Steve claims that over the years he owes him several hundred thousand dollars. Dad loved the game of golf but was never good at it however he never let that bother him from playing. He always described his greatest accomplishment in golf, a hole in one this way. “The ball never got over 2 feet high, skipped across the lake three times, hit the pin so hard it jumped in the air and fell in the hole”. Of course he could never be very good at golf, he played from the wrong side of the ball, any activity he did with 2 hands he did left handed (golf, batting a ball) but anything one handed was right handed(bowling, throwing a ball and writing), he was unique.
Dad, we will miss you dearly and forever.
ALL OUR LOVE, YOUR FAMILY.