Eleanor N. Lewis, 89, Was Active in Her Community

Eleanor N. Lewis of Baltimore and Vineyard Haven, a community volunteer and housewife, died on Oct. 4 of congestive heart failure at Roland Park Place, where she had resided for 12 years. She was 89.

Born Eleanor Nelson in Pottsville, Pa., she was raised in Roland Park and was a 1932 graduate of Roland Park Country School. She earned a degree in English at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

In 1938, she married H.H. Walker Lewis, an attorney and author. He died in 1999.

Mrs. Lewis came to the Vineyard almost every summer since her marriage. On the Island, she was an active supporter of Grace Episcopal church, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Sheriff's Meadow Foundation and other Island organizations. She was especially interested in conserving wildlife and the environment.

With her husband and many of her large family, she enjoyed most of the Island's trails, views and beaches. The land bank's Middle Ridge Preserve is on land Mr. and Mrs. Lewis bought in 1950, in large part so that as Chilmark taxpayers they would be able to use Squibnocket Beach. She walked the paths of West Chop Woods, near her house, countless times, through the summer of 2002. She loved the fireworks, Illumination Night, sunsets seen from the rocks at Menemsha and cookies from Humphreys.

She enjoyed boats of all kinds, from rowboats to the Shenandoah and the ferries. While not an expert sailor, she was involved with sailing most summers as companion, crew and mother. She often rode on the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club's committee boat, Vigilant, helping the fleet captain with the tasks of running races in which her sons competed in Vineyard Haven 15s. Later she and Mr. Lewis enjoyed cruises of up to two weeks along the coast in their 22-foot Sailmaster, Lark. They raced Lark regularly with the Holmes Hole Sailing Association.

In Baltimore, she was a volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the city department of social services. She was a former board member of the YWCA, the League of Women Voters and Roland Park Country School. She was a longtime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

She is survived by four sons, Dr. Edwin A.S. Lewis of Baltimore and Vineyard Haven, Dr. John N. Lewis of Louisville, Ky., and Chilmark, Fielding Lewis of Belmont and Vineyard Haven, and H. McIlvaine Lewis of Santa Fe, N.Mex.; nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore, where she was a former vestry member.