William Raymond Lewis died on Jan. 5 after a long battle with cancer. He was 64 years old.
Will was born in Eureka, Calif. on May 7, 1948 to Ernest and Lucy Lewis, and spent his early years in York, Pa. When he was in 5th grade he moved to Ukiah, Calif. to live with his father and stepmother, Eloise. This is the place where he felt he’d grown up. After high school, he worked in a building material plant, married Janice Ford, and his first child, Andrea, was born. They joined his dad and stepmom in Tularosa, N.M. and lived there for a while, but as the marriage dissolved, he became a true child of the 1960s and rolled from one adventure to another, until he met his life partner, Cathy, in New Haven, Conn. They married in the backyard of the old farmhouse where they had lived with friends, and his brother, John, officiated.
In the early years of marriage Cathy joined him in his travels, traversing the country, camping and enjoying numerous travel adventures. Since Cathy is a native Islander, his connection with the Vineyard began. Between other journeys, they came to the Vineyard over and over again.
His journeys also led him through numerous possible career choices, such as antique refinishing and sales, auto and home glass repair and auto mechanics, to name a few, and as their children came along, so, too, came a sense that settling his wanderlust was important. After Caitlin Robin was born in 1976, Will began an apprenticeship with a master builder in Guilford, Conn. where they lived. By the time Ean William was born in 1980, Will was a union carpenter, and he moved his growing family into their first house in Clinton, Conn. Lindsay Elizabeth was born in 1983, not long after Will’s father-in-law, Bob Convery, became seriously ill. The family moved to Edgartown to care for him, and subsequently Will did a building project with his brother-in-law, Rick, on Bob’s property. At the end of that year, Bob had recovered and the family moved home to Conn. Rick suggested they collaborate on another project, so they moved back, and so began their business of Convery and Lewis and Will’s commitment to the Island.
In 1985 he bought land and built the family home in Edgartown and continued to be a builder for the rest of his working days. He was always true to his rolling stone character and worked with many different carpenters and various craft people over the years. He joined the Edgartown fire department in 1987 and worked on the ladder truck. From then until he retired in 1996, he felt a great sense of satisfaction being part of a team that did so much good.
He always enjoyed riding a motorcycle, and when he finally bought one he joined the Martha’s Vineyard Harley Riders. He loved the camaraderie with like-minded folks, and that they combined their love of riding with good deeds. Being Santa for the Ride for the Red Stocking felt like a great honor. The Run to the Rock and his time on the Run to the Wall in Washington, D.C. were special memories.
Will enjoyed fishing, diving, boating, snorkeling, traveling to parts unknown, riding his motorcycle, watching football, sharing stories and spending time with friends and family, most especially his three wonderful grandboys, Jacob, Ian and Isaac. Will leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Cathy Convery Lewis; offspring Andrea Lewis, Caitlin Lewis, Ean and Melissa Lewis, and Lindsay and Michael Trance; and grandsons Jacob Lewis, Ian Trance and Isaac Trance. He also leaves behind his mother, Lucy Judge; his stepmother, Eloise Johnson; his brothers Rick Lewis, John Polson, Keith Judge and Wayne Judge; his stepbrothers James and Lola Miller, and Lloyd and Robin Miller; his brother-in-law Rick Convery; nieces and nephews; his aunt Mary and cousin Doug Lewis; and other cousins. His father, Ernest Lewis, and his sister, Rose, pre-deceased him.
A celebration of his life will be held in the Federated Church Parish Hall on S. Summer street in Edgartown on Jan. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. It will be a very casual snack and story potluck. Come if you have a story or if you have a snack. Or if you just want to see others and wish Will safe travel.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Hope Hospice, P.O. Box 4188, Vineyard Haven, MA.