WILMINGTON — Donald Wilson Lewis, 86, went home to be with the Lord and Savior on March 2, 2023, following a 5-year courageous battle with cancer.
He is survived by Norean, his sweet wife of 63 years; his son Ron Lewis (Tracy) of Greenville, SC; daughter Cindy Franklin (Darrell) of Wilmington, NC; his sister Ada Mathena (Mike) of Alabama, 4 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents Francis and Irene Lewis, brother Wayne Lewis, and sister Lonia Mae Farrow.
Donald so cherished the love of his life, Norean. After chasing her for many years “by driving down the road, turning right on Burrough Road, jumping 4 ditches and a bunch of mud puddles to get to her” and proposing, she finally said yes. Together they built a legacy of love and dedication to their children by making many sacrifices to ensure all needs were provided, including seeing that they received a good education and obtained collegiate degrees.
He served 26 loyal years in the US Coast Guard. He served on 5 ships: General Greene, Duane, Ingham, Storis, and Mendota; 1 tour of duty in Vietnam; and was stationed in Massachusetts, Alaska, Virginia, Hawaii and North Carolina. Upon retiring from the USCG, he served on yet another ship by working at the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial for 19 years.
Donald loved the Lord, his family and country with all his heart. From family to friends, he was a caring, giving, encouraging person with a generous heart. He was always quick with a joke with any given situation, loved to laugh and enjoyed life. People fell in love with him upon meeting him. One of his great characteristics in life was to always put others before himself. He served as deacon at 3 different churches over the years, as he loved serving God.
He and Norean built, owned and maintained Deerfield Mobile Home Trailer Park for almost 40 years. True to their Christian character, they treated the residents with respect and compassion. Many of the residents enjoyed long terms of residency because of the way that they were treated.
Donald had many hobbies throughout his life, to name a few: macrame, string art ships, carpentry, rebuilding a 1956 Ford truck and wood duck carving. Another hobby in his later years was building a pecan shelling machine. His business turned into a ministry as he talked to his customers about God, and all income was donated to send kids to camp or to a family in need. He so enjoyed meeting and chatting with his customers. Many of his customers came every year to have their pecans shelled, or to enjoy a chat!
We would like to thank our immediate family, the church family of Fellowship Baptist Church, and friends for all their prayers, support and food during Dad’s time of sickness. In addition, we extend a thank you to Lower Cape Fear Life Care and the caretakers of Age in Place for their compassionate care during his hospice time.
The family will receive friends for a time of visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 7, 2023, at Fellowship Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC, with the service following at 1 p.m. in the church auditorium, Pastor Arnold Griffin presiding.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared here.