I was born Richard Arthur Lewis at Hamilton Army Airfield, San Francisco, CA, 8 December 1938. I was the son of an Army Air Corps pilot. I was born with unruly fly-away hair, and a personality to match. My school years were spent wandering the globe with my parents William and Eleanor Lewis, and my brother Edward. I went to 17 schools in my first 12 years of schooling.
I graduated from the University of Utah, despite my efforts to the contrary. My swim coach told me 'grades or no swimming.' I wanted to swim. I was a "2.0 and go" guy, but I graduated.
I followed my dad's footsteps and became a pilot. I flew C-118/135/141s serving 9 years in the USAF. In 1969 I started flying for Delta Airlines. I retired with more than 25,000 hours of flight time. I briefed my Delta crews before each flight that I was just doing the job for greens fees and golf tees, so we should do it right.
Very early on, I married and had two children BJ and Don. I am not perfect, and life happens, so I had a second chance at marriage. I married my soulmate and, in that union, I got a bonus daughter TW, a bonus brother James, and a circle of amazing friends I considered family.
After retiring, we moved to our dream home in a golf course community. There I spent time playing golf, travelling, telling lies with the "Dew Boys", enjoying the Italian food created by my talented wife, dedicating time to the Wounded Warrior Project, and enjoying family and friends. We particularly relished our Christmas gatherings where everyone had to roll their own ravioli.
My soulmate, Madeline, passed before me, so I am now happily reunited with her, having passed away with family holding me close on 2 November 2019.
Thank you to all the wonderful caregivers at Grand Brook Memory Care and Anchor of Hope Hospice in Grapevine, Texas. Every single person treated me and my family with love and respect every moment I was in their care.
To my family and friends- live your best life, pay yourself first, laugh and love a lot, make mischief, never quit, and treat everyone with honor and respect.
I think Katherine Hepburn said it best, "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!"
My Funeral Mass will be at 2 pm on 15 November at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, 18221 FM 2493, Flint, TX 75762.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Nov. 10, 2019.