GULF COAST WELSH SOCIETY
CRIMOND  THE 23RD PSALM
MEMORIALS
Performed by Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir
RAF Memorial
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Arcadia, FL
Dr William John 'Jack' Lewis
June 8, 1924 - April 5, 2014
A thirst for knowledge, a passion for people, a soul full of song. In his 89 years, Dr. W.J. "Jack" Lewis
personified and defined each of those phrases. As a lifelong learner, his bookshelves burst with
novels, classics, and non-fiction tomes that covered a library full of topics and filled his mind with
more information than infinite Google searches. A Family Practitioner by trade, Jack was a healer, a
sympathetic ear, and a confidant to thousands of patients during his 37-year practice. He had a
self-described "perfect partnership" with Dr. Lou Haley during most of his career. To his family,
extended family, and countless friends, he was still the doctor-on-call long past retirement, and was
always available for counsel and advice.
His family always came first. But it was truly the gift of music that gladdened his heart more than
anything. There was a song in his heart (and often on his lips) virtually every waking moment of the
day. Blessed with a soaring tenor voice but with a range of notes even a bass could envy, Jack sang
and enjoyed everything from opera to Gilbert and Sullivan, and the great hymns of the church to
Barbershop ditties. He anchored the Christ United Methodist Church choir tenor section for 62
years, and sang with the Dayton Philharmonic Chorus. He founded and directed the Montgomery
County Medical Society Glee Club, the unique chorus composed entirely of practicing physicians.
Perhaps his greatest musical happiness was the pure joy of four-part harmony he shared, most
especially with friends of seven decades he met at DePauw University and continued to vacation
with yearly in a special slice of God's backyard near Traverse City, Michigan. Jack came by his love
of music through his parents and his Welsh heritage, of which he was extremely proud. He was born
in Indiana on June 8, 1924. One of his favorite quotes was: "To be born Welsh is to be born
privileged. Not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your blood and poetry in your soul."
He served on national Welsh organization boards, participated in many national Welsh songfests
(Gymanfa Ganus), and directed several local versions. And in his 70s, he signed up for courses so
he could learn the Welsh language.
Extremely active in his church and community, Jack was Chairman of the Pastor/Parish relations committee at Christ UMC. He
served on countless boards, including the Miami Valley Health Improvement Council, the Physicians Charitable Foundation, the
Wright State University Friends of the Library and the Community Blood Bank. One of his greatest local passions was The Wright
State University Medical School that he helped establish, and at which he became a clinical Professor Emeritus. Jack served as
President of the Montgomery County Medical Society, subsequently held statewide office, and was elected to the Board of
Directors of the American Medical Association. He also was Chief of Staff at Kettering Hospital. Through all his activities, he
rubbed shoulders with laborers and Presidents alike, treating all he encountered with dignity and respect. He went from waiting
tables at a sorority house in college to dining at the White House. He didn't know a stranger, and was at ease with all.
Extremely active in his church and community, Jack was Chairman of the Pastor/Parish relations committee at Christ UMC. He
served on countless boards, including the Miami Valley Health Improvement Council, the Physicians Charitable Foundation, the
Wright State University Friends of the Library and the Community Blood Bank. One of his greatest local passions was The Wright
State University Medical School that he helped establish, and at which he became a clinical Professor Emeritus. Jack served as
President of the Montgomery County Medical Society, subsequently held statewide office, and was elected to the Board of
Directors of the American Medical Association. He also was Chief of Staff at Kettering Hospital. Through all his activities, he
rubbed shoulders with laborers and Presidents alike, treating all he encountered with dignity and respect. He went from waiting
tables at a sorority house in college to dining at the White House. He didn't know a stranger, and was at ease with all.
Jack was privileged to visit most if not all the 50 states, as well as travel abroad several times, including a special family trip to
Wales and the opportunity to see his ancestral homeland. Jack also honorably served his country during World War II in the
medical corps, beginning in Africa and then mainly in Italy. He had a unique honor three years ago when he returned to Florence
to tour the area where he had been stationed. Though nothing more then a coincidence, a new WWII museum was being
dedicated in the town of Scarperia, and Jack had the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the facility, addressing the delighted
crowd in Italian
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Ann. They met while he was in medical school and she in nurse's training at Indiana
University. Ann and Jack's four children, Bill (Susan), Kathy Dierkes (Joe), Megan Haddox (Craig) and Jill, all inherited his love of
music. He was especially proud of his seven grandchildren, Jackie (Michael), Courtney (Matt), Katie, Evan, Carrie, John (Alex)
and Mary. Jack's Michigan family was second only to his own flesh and blood in his level of love.
The magic of Lake Michigan permeated a group that now numbers over a hundred, most of whom gather once a year to love,
laugh and, of course, sing. The Hayeses, Durhams, Besterfields, Schrolls, Finouts, Adairs, and the Vaughans were treasured
beyond measure. One member of that group summed up the feelings of many when he said, "The earth won't be the same
without you." Jack joined the Heavenly Chorus on April 5, 2014. With Jack leading from his hospital bed, his family joined in
singing together soon before he carried his joyful noise to God.  
The family wishes to thank the doctors and nurses who tenderly and graciously cared for him. In lieu of flowers, they ask that if
anyone would like to make a donation in Jack's name, they do so to one of the following organizations: The Christ United
Methodist Church Music Department (3440 Shroyer Rd., Kettering, OH 45429), the Welsh North American Association (Box 1054,
Trumansburg, NY 14886), or the Old Mission Congregational Church (P.O. Box 91, Old Mission, MI 49673). A memorial service
was held on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 3 pm at Christ United Methodist Church, Kettering, OH. The family received friends after the
service.