Gerald “Jerry” Eugene Lewis, age 76, of Romney died suddenly and unexpectedly as the result of a fall while walking their dog along a path at the South Branch River on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Brady and Elizabeth (Ansel) Lewis and a daughter, Nicole “Niki” Renee Lewis.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Rebecca (Whaley) Lewis; daughter Angela (Lewis) Hott and husband Garrett of Romney; (2) grandchildren, Hannah Nicole Householder and Garrett D. Hott, IV; his mother-in-law, Jean Whaley of Romney and several nieces and nephews.
Jerry was born on September 17, 1942 in Cumberland, MD and was the only child of Brady and Elizabeth Lewis. He grew up in Fort Ashby and graduated from Fort Ashby High School where he also served as Class President. After High School Jerry attended West Virginia University graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree(s) in Forestry and Biology. He went on to earn his Master’s degree in Ichthyology.
During the latter part of the 1960’s he took a job in Utah working as a Forester. In 1969 he returned to West Virginia and began his career as a Fisheries Biologist for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Jerry accomplishments were many, and one that most are familiar with, and have no idea he was responsible for, are the many public access points to the South Branch River. Countless hours were spent communicating and negotiating with land owners to make the South Branch available to everyone (thank you Jerry).
To say Jerry was an outdoorsman would be a dramatic understatement. His life revolved around nature. He traveled to different states, one being Alaska, for hunting and trapping purposes. Jerry’s true passion was trapping and it all started as a young boy along Patterson Creek and evolved into a lifelong pursuit.
Jerry was an active member of the Romney First United Methodist Church where he served as a Sunday School Teacher, a leader in the AWANA Youth Program, and was a member of the First United Methodist Men from which a missionary trip to Africa evolved. Jerry was also heavily involved in the Samaritan’s Purse program which delivers shoe boxed sized Christmas gifts to needy children.
Not one to be inactive, Jerry started planting Christmas trees after his retirement. This evolved into the Lewis Christmas Tree Farm in Fort Ashby. Families from the Tri-State area would come, and if they wished, pick out their own tree to be cut and taken home for Christmas.
Jerry and his soft-spoken manner, his many kindnesses directed to others, and his willingness to always be a part of whatever needed doing will be deeply missed by many.
Friends will be received on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 from 5 to 7 PM at Shaffer Funeral Home in Romney. Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, May 29, at 11 AM at the Romney First United Methodist Church. Jerry’s ashes are to be scattered off the coast of Florida at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Samaritan’s Purse ~ PO Box 3000 ~ Boone, NC 28607 -OR- Romney First United Methodist Men’s Scholarship Fund ~ 49 N. High St. ~ Romney, WV 26757