Sunday, June 5, 2016

Obituary: Leonard A. "Lenny" Lewis, 90, Wellsville

Leonard A. ("Lenny") Lewis, 90, of 4200 Fassett Lane, Wellsville, NY, passed away unexpectedly on June 1, 2016 at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville. Lenny was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather; a loyal friend to many; a proud World War II Navy veteran; a talented carpenter, and an avid motorcycle, electronics, and gadgets enthusiast. He was also an active and giving member of his community all of his life, honored just two days before his passing as the Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade in Wellsville. The son of Leonard Leroy Lewis and Lucy Mae (Johnston) Lewis, Lenny was born on October 4, 1925, in Nunda, NY. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy as a teen during WWII, Lenny was trained at Sampson Naval Base on Seneca Lake in N.Y., then was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, and served as a ship signalman aboard the seaplane tender, U.S.S. Albemarle, from 1942 to 1945. Lenny spent most of his service at sea – his tours of duty taking him to places such as Reykjavik, Iceland; Trinidad; across the Equator; and through the Panama Canal. After his service, Lenny was a carpenter by trade and attended college. He worked for over 33 years as an Industrial Engineer at Dresser-Rand in Wellsville, retiring in 1987.
On December 5, 1944 at the Immaculate Conception Church Rectory in Wellsville, Lenny married the true love of his life, Mary Arlene Burns, whom he met at the Funland Roller Skating Rink when they were teens. The couple settled in Wellsville. They had two children, both born in Wellsville – a son, Thomas James Lewis, who predeceased them on July 25, 1991, and a daughter, Connie Ann Lewis. After celebrating 65 years of marriage, Mary predeceased her husband on August 25, 2010. A testament to their love is that Lenny visited his wife's grave and kept a candle lit there every day in her memory from the day of her death until his own death 6 years later.
Surviving family members are: sister, Jean Hibbard (Robert) of Whitney Point, NY; daughter, Connie Ann (Lewis) Kirk (Kenneth) of Corning, NY; daughter-in-law, Connie A. (Russell) Lewis of Scio, NY; grandchildren: Benjamin Lewis Kirk (Emily Nester); Johnathan Patrick Kirk; Andrew Scott Lewis; Christopher Todd Lewis; and Sarah Elizabeth Wyre; great-grandchildren: Hunter Lewis and Jaxson Wyre; niece, Marcella Sweet; and several other nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Throughout his long life, Lenny was a leader and active member of several civic, professional, and veteran organizations. These included but are not limited to: Post 702 of the American Legion; former Chaplain of the American Legion Riders Club in Wellsville; VFW; the Patriot Guard; Society of Manufacturing Engineers; Officer of Kiwanis Club; volunteer firefighter with the McEwen Fire Department; 32nd Degree of Freemasonry; and a participant in various bowling and golfing leagues. Lenny, who volunteered many times to visit veterans in hospitals and in other related projects, was honored by the local American Legion post when he was asked to place a wreath in their name at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

In his later years, Lenny was known for his sole caretaking of his wife who was ill for 6 years; his continued devotion to her after her passing; his vitality and clear enjoyment of riding his motorcycle around town and the countryside on into his 90s; his warm, friendly, and welcoming spirit to everyone he met; and the deep enjoyment, pride, and love he had for his family.
Calling hours will be Tuesday, June 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 8, at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville followed by an Honor Guard and burial service at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Wellsville and a luncheon at the American Legion. Those wishing to make a charitable donation in Lenny's name are welcome to give to the American Legion Riders, Post 702, 23 Jefferson Street, Wellsville, NY, 14895.