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James Ray Lewis

North Liberty

James Ray Lewis, 91, a lifelong Iowa resident, died June 15, 2018, at Attic Angels Place in Madison, Wis.
Visitation will be Thursday, June 21, at 9 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Iowa City. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary's Church. Burial with military honors will occur directly afterward at Ridgewood Cemetery in North Liberty.
Jim was born April 9, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa, to Floyd D. and Frances (Duke) Lewis. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 to serve his country during World War II as a seaman 1st Class, primarily stationed on the island of Guam. After the war, he returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Stiefel, on July 26, 1947, in Burlington. Jim began work as a lineman for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in 1947, and rose to become an engineering manager by 1971, a position he held until his retirement. Jim and Mary settled in rural North Liberty at a home that Jim built along the Coralville Reservoir in 1961. There they raised their three children and hosted many family get-togethers for more than 50 years.
Jim retired from Northwestern Bell in 1983. He and Mary created their own company, Mel-Tel, and provided contract engineering services for five more years, until they retired again in 1988. They thoroughly enjoyed their retirement, traveling and spending time with their family. Jim enjoyed hunting and fishing, and was a lifelong woodworker, building tables, chairs, headboards and boxes for his children and grandchildren in his home workshop, where he also built a 26-foot sailboat. He also enjoyed genealogy, and spent many years writing books that documented his own life and the life of his and Mary's ancestors.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Mary, of 70 years; their three children, Brian (Janet) Lewis of rural Oxford, Iowa, Tamara (Patrick) Scerpella of Madison, Wis., and Gregory (Moria) Lewis of rural Oxford, Iowa; their 10 grandchildren, including Jennifer, Samantha (Nathan Boyd), Emily, Danielle, Michael and Mark Lewis and John, William, Colleen and Patrick Scerpella; and one great-granddaughter, Brinley Boyd.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care.
Online condolences may be sent to www.lensingfuneral.com.