On October 22, 2022, John Hudson Lewis, beloved husband, father of one child, and pet parent, went home to meet the Lord at the age of 73.
John was born on October 27, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan to James and Patricia Lewis.
He graduated with honors from University of Minnesota Law School. Following law school graduation, he clerked in the Minnesota Court of Appeals and in the First Judicial District Court of Minnesota. Earlier, he earned his MS in Business Administration and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.
A lifelong learner with an infinite curiosity, he frequently said to his wife and flying buddy Marcelaine Wininger Lewis, “We can learn a lot by doing that!” And together they did learn a lot! He earned multiple advanced pilot ratings and endorsements (Commercial Pilot, Single Engine Land, Multi Engine Land, Single Engine Sea, Instrument, Tailwheel, and Skis). He was a Master Flight Instructor and FAA Gold Seal Instructor. In 2006 John and Marcelaine were co-directors of the Michigan Air Tour and brought it to the Upper Peninsula for the first time. Sixty airplanes and their crews came from all over the Midwest and Canada for the three-day event. In 2009 he was named Great Lakes Region Flight Instructor of the Year. In addition, he was a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol functioning as both legal officer and check pilot.
He loved the sky. He was a passionate skydiver with a Master Skydive License and made over 3,000 jumps. John held numerous state, national, and world formation skydive records in multiple states. Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois was his weekend summer home, and he flew one of his planes there each weekend to jump… until his declining health stopped it.
Until his death, John considered his ex-wife Sheri Bonneau Lewis one of his best friends. During their marriage, they owned and operated H&R Block Tax franchises in Houghton, L’Anse, Calumet, and Ontonagon, Michigan. In addition, they owned and operated Agate Beach Apiaries, a wholesale and retail honey production and crop pollination business in Northern Wisconsin and Western Upper Michigan. Together they have one child, Catherine Jeanne Lewis.
John loved the Lord and prayed daily. He often said that because God had blessed him so generously, it was his responsibility to use those blessings to help others. That spiritual philosophy guided him to be an Angel Flight pilot and use his airplanes at his own expense to fly patients to lower Michigan medical appointments. He also flew dozens of teens and underprivileged children on their first flights for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He donated his time as a Good Will Farm Director and as a Director for his parish council.
John spent his adult life in the Copper Country. He frequently joked that after he graduated from Michigan Tech, there was no reason for him to leave. But his friend Bob Hupfer moved to Maui in the mid 90s. And John visited him there as a snow bird until Bob’s death. Then he continued spending his winters on Maui until he became too sick to travel. He immersed himself in Hawaiian culture learning the Hawaiian chants and paddling outrigger canoes with the Kihei Canoe Club.
John Lewis was preceded in death by his parents and his friend Bob. Numerous pets that he loved are waiting for him on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge: Faud, George the Ragdoll, and rescued cats Autumn and Charlie. He is survived by his wife Marcelaine Wininger Lewis, daughter Catherine Jeanne Lewis, and sister Jeanne Anne Lewis, his step-daughter Angela Marie Rovano and only grandchild Alyssa Jo Rovano. He is also survived by Sheri Bonneau Lewis, Ruth Bonneau, friends: Karen and Kris Boutelier, Al Perry, Kim Meiger, and Emely Youngs. He will be terribly missed by his Ragdoll cat Walter who has been at his side and in his bed for four years and his poodles Disney and Pluto, and his other Ragdolls Jiminy Kitten and Goofy.
Memorial services will be held at his favorite locations. He will be remembered in a flower drop by the Kihei Canoe Club in the ocean at Kihei, Maui where his friend Bob’s ashes are scattered. There will also be a flower drop and memorial service at Skydive Chicago. His cremains will be interred in the Stanton Township Cemetery near his beloved farm in Toivola. He belonged to Grace United Methodist Church in Houghton.
The Lord broke the mold when he made John Lewis and the world is a better place because of him.
“Blue skies and tail winds.” John. “See you on the other side.”
The O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is assisting with the arrangements. To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com.