William Lewis Profile Photo
1924 William 2021

William Lewis

April 15, 1924 — August 15, 2021

Colonel William Edward ''Bill'' Lewis aged 97, of Kerrville, Texas peacefully earned his wings on August 15, 2021 at Peterson Regional Hospital. Bill was born April 15, 1924 in Brickeys, Missouri to Carrie and Lansing Lewis and for the early years of his life lived on Establishment island on the Mississippi River, approximately 1,500 acres where they harvested corn, and raised a large control herd of hogs, that being quarantined on the island were used in finding immunizations and treatments for hog cholera. At age 15, his father Lansing, a three time Purple Heart participant and WWI Trench Fighter, sent him to live with a foster family in St. Louis to receive a formal education, a man who tracked Poncho Villa back and forth across the Texas/Mexican border under Gen. Blackjack Pershing and traveled to Europe in the first wave of the Big Red 1 infantry unit, he did not want his son to be another set of boots on the ground, as he saw the future of warfare being waged in the skies. As World War II ramped up, and when he came of age, Bill enlisted in the Army Air Corp, and attended his first flight school in Cuero, TX where his first love of the Hill Country he would return to after retirement was kindled. A young man by World War II standards, Bill trained first in B-17's for the European theater, and as it drew to a close, the B-29 for the Pacific. As he was waiting to ship out of the New York Harbor during a final home celebration, one of the other cadets walked into the room asking ''What the heck is an A-bomb?'' Signaling the wars end. At this time Bill stayed on as a reservist in the newly formed USAF, as it branched away from Army Air Corp, and went to attend Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, receiving his under graduate as a history major. At this time, he was reluctantly entered into a musical by one of his professors and became smitten by his make-up artist, one Helen Louise ''Lou'' Kinder, whom he would court off and on through his college years, before realizing he needed to take her hand before someone else was given the opportunity. They married in a small chapel at Davis-Monthan AFB in Pima, AZ on June 6, 1952, and shared a beautiful 67 years together until her passing on Christmas Eve, 2019. In their years together they bore four children in a tight 36 month period, Lynette Lewis, twins Patrick and Michael Lewis, and Lisa Plaisted, who in turn gave them 14 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. The eldest being Robert Reeh, who in many ways was closer to a fifth son and acted as full time caregiver to both of them until their passing. Bill had an illustrious 36 years in the USAF, serving under multiple commands, two of the most notable being the 15th Air Force and the 55th Strategic Air Command under Gen. Curt LeMay. Accumulating over 5,000 hours in flight, he served as a flying spy during the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War, the latter leading up to one of his notable missions, spying on the experimental Russian Tsar Bomba detonation, a major saber-rattling event set in motion by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He also worked closely with the U-2 Dragonlady spy plane and wrote the SR-71 Blackbird into the US war plan. Among several meritorious and campaign medals and awards, two of his most significant were the Legion Of Merit, with two clusters,and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He spent his final days at March AFB before retirement June 30, 1979 and moved to Kerrville October of the same year. Not a man to take retirement sitting down, he first purchased rental homes around town and with some help, quickly picked up wood working, plumbing and electrical experience. As an avid golfer during his career, he quickly saw there were many courses to play in the Hill Country but no practice ranges, so he opened Golfland on Spur 100 in 1983, and extended it to another still remaining business, Golf Cars and Care, which sold and serviced both golf and ranch utility vehicles, until selling in 1998. During this time he taught the 21st Century Class at First United Methodist, at 200+ member bible study and Sunday school group, arranged the bus ministry for those otherwise homebound and served 20+ years as a volunteer lay chaplain in our local hospital. In some of his final and most rewarding years in ministry, he served as a chaplain tour guide for the Coming King Foundation, the ''Empty Cross'' on I-10 here in Kerrville, where he mentored other guide chaplains as well as introduced untold 1,000's of people to the Lord that had treated him so well in his life. Anyone who knew the Colonel knew retirement was ideology at best. Bill's memorial will be Friday, September 3, 2021 at 2 pm, Kerrville First United Methodist on Thompson Drive with Rev. David Payne officiating. Graveside will be at Ft. Sam in San Antonio Friday, September 3, 2021 at 9 AM with full Military honors, public is welcome to attend. I would like to personally thank the caring staff of Peterson Regional for the exceptional level of care over the last week and years, and the office and staff of Dr. Grocki, one of the most caring and attentive doctor's offices that I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. We ask that the memorials be sent to the Coming King Foundation of Kerrville, and His Hill Ranch Camp of Comfort, a Torchbearers ministry. All arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels and any condolences may be sent to www.grimesfuneralchapels.com. Sign Guestbook>> 6 Condolence(s) Cristina Krobot Kerrville, Wednesday, September 1, 2021 Bill rode our van to and from church. He was always dressed nicely and was such a gentleman. He was also very proud of the fact that he had formed the van ministry. He personified God in his kind nature and upbeat energy. He will be missed. Sheryl Jeffery Roller Overland Park, KS Saturday, August 28, 2021 I met Bill when he became a lay chaplain at PRMC. He and Lou were dedicated to their ministries there. Bill was quite a man. I liked and respected him. I know how much you will miss him. mark and susie huffman and family ingram, TX Wednesday, August 25, 2021 love ya and miss you brother. see ya in heaven Jim McKnight Kerrville, TX Tuesday, August 24, 2021 Bill's servant leadership was an inspiration to all that had the privilege of knowing him. Well done good and faithful servant! Kristi Dechert-Giles Houston, TX Sunday, August 22, 2021 Growing up in KFUMC, and having the blessing and honor of knowing Bill and Lou, I always looked to them as an inspiration of what a Godly and loving couple looked like. As a teen who would occasionally bore of the sermon, I would look in front of me, seeing Bill with his arm lovingly around Lou, and think that that was the kind of long-lasting love I wanted in my life. Their infectuous joy, faithfulness, love, and hugs were something I always looked forward to. They truly emulated the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives. Thank you for sharing them with all of us, for we are all better people and better Christians because of their example. I'm thankful I will get to see them again one day. May Bill's memory always be a blessing, and may you be comforted in your grief. Kristi Dechert-Giles Stella Mooney Round Rock, TX Saturday, August 21, 2021 I had the honor and privilege of having a friendship with Bill. Initially we met in the GEM (Geriatric Evaluation and Management) clinic at the STVHCS in Kerrville, Tx. I was the assigned RN in the clinic and it didn't take me long to realize that Bill was special. His service to our country during his military career was impressive and greatly appreciated. He exemplified excellence in all that he endeavored. He was passionate about his Christian faith and devoted to volunteering his time to making a difference in the lives of others. My life was enriched by our friendship. My sincere condolences to the family. Stella Mooney Service

Memorial Service
First United Methodist Church
321 Thompson Dr.
Kerrville, TX  78028
Friday, September 3, 2021
2:00 PM


Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery
1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd.
San Antonio, TX  78209

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