John H. Lewis Jr.
After a year-long struggle with Alzheimer’s and dementia our sweet Dad passed away at Elegant Assisted Living on Wednesday September 4, 2019. He was surrounded by family, and is now reunited with our wonderful Mom who left us 20 years ago.
He was born in Pocatello, Idaho on September 7, 1934, to John H. Sr. and Frances Vivian Lewis.
He attended school in Pocatello and one month shy of his graduation from Pocatello High School, he left to join the Marines with 17 of his good friends. He was always disappointed that he did not receive his diploma and at the age of 77 he applied to take the GED and without preparing for the test, aced it on his first attempt.
He served in the Marines from 1954 to 1956, the last year they allowed a two-year enlistment. He was a radio telephone operator for the 1st Engineer Battalion Division at Camp Pendleton, California. He received the National Defense Service Medal and was honorably discharged.
He married MaryLee Lenroot on December 17, 1956. They were married for 42 years until her untimely death at the age of 60 in 1999. Together they had three children, Jody, Cindy and John.
Dad retired from the Pocatello Fire Department after 20 years of service, where he was affectionately known as “Cool Hand Luke.” He also worked as a heavy equipment operator for Hunziker Construction and Bannock Paving. He never really retired as he built two homes for his daughter Jody, he had a used car lot with his friend, Bill Hunziker, and was always working on cars for his grandchildren. One of his favorite pass times was searching for the next “good deal,” which he was always lucky enough to find.
Dad was a brilliant man and a master of all trades. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, and everything he touched was a little bit better, including his children. Dad taught us to work hard, tell the truth, do our best and to not give up until the job was done. We are all better human beings by having John Lewis as our Dad. He was a special man.
Dad loved race cars, snowmobiles, corvettes, the rush of speed in any form. He was a successful race car driver and one of the original founders of the Pocatello Speedway. He enjoyed racing snowmobiles with his son John, and buddy Dudley Russell. Dad, John, Dudley and Dudley’s son Chuck won a 101- mile race from West Yellowstone to St. Anthony, and several AGC Snowmobile races.
He was a devoted friend who was always willing to help anyone. He will be forever missed by his family, friends, and co-workers.
John is survived by a sister, Julianne Kelsey, his three children, Jody Lewis, Cindy (Jeff) Edwards, and John (Dove) Lewis; six grandchildren, Colby J. Max Edwards, Bronson John (Rosie) Edwards, John Dirk Lewis Jr., Morgan (Greg) Freiburger, Jeremy Lewis and Courtney White; four great grandchildren, Kaydense Edwards, Cruz Edwards, Harper Freiburger, and Maddix Freiburger, a niece Nicki (Scott) McCartney and a nephew Bryan (Carol) Kelsey, and his sweet dog Ted.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife, MaryLee.
The family would like to sincerely thank his caregivers at Quail Ridge, Elegant Assisted Living, and the Hospice team at Encompass.
In lieu of Flowers the family would love for you to donate to the Alzheimer’s Foundation to help support additional research to find a cure for this devastating disease.
Please join us for a celebration of John’s life at Juniper Hills Country Club on Sunday September 15, 2019 from 2 – 5.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornelisonfh.com