A son. A brother. A cousin. A husband. A father. A friend. An air traffic controller. An instructor. A grill master. A “corny” joke teller. A photographer. James Bernard Lewis, affectionately called as “Lew”, was known to wear many titles to many people. One title we all can agree on is that he was a fighter. Given only six months to live after a cancer diagnosis, he fought an additional fifteen months doing things his way and his way only because “what you see is what you get!”
James Bernard Lewis was born January 30, 1956, in Columbus, MS to James Arthur and Mary Frances Lewis. The eldest of four children, as the son of a military man, he was given the opportunity to experience education in Germany, North Carolina, and New Jersey before his family settled in Columbus, MS. Upon graduation from S.D. Lee High School, James followed his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Air Force in 1974. During his 20 years of service, he received many awards of recognition including the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Air Force Longevity Service Award. While serving his country, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Educational Management.
In 1989, he got up the courage to ask the girl in the apartment across the street from him to a BBQ. She said “yes” to the free food not knowing she was saying yes to 32 years with him! After five years of dating, they were united as one on July 23, 1994. Prior to this union, James was blessed with a daughter, Tamica, and two sons, James and Michael.
After retiring from the military, he continued as a vocational instructor in the Victorville Unified School district. For twenty years he used his military experiences to mold the minds of youth with the goal of making a difference. When he wasn’t teaching, he owned and operated, JBL Consulting, P.I.M.P Ribs, and JBL Photo Restoration and Photography.
June 13, 2021, he passed away peacefully at his home in Moreno Valley with his loving wife, daughter, and sons by his side.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Octavia Johnson; grandparents, William Darden, Elnator Wright, Arthur Wells, and Willie Jane Lewis; his aunt, Mildred Smith; his uncles, Elmer Lewis and Cleophus Lewis.
James Lewis leaves to cherish his memories: his loving wife, Wanda Lewis; a daughter, Tamica (Cedric) Patton of McCalla, AL; two sons, James Lewis and Michael Lewis of Atlanta, GA; seven grandchildren, Jermetrya Latham and Jenesis Reed of Hoover, AL, Joshuah Reed of Little Rock, AK, Justin Patton of McCalla, AL, Dae’Sean Lewis of Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Lewis, and Naiyeli Lewis of Decatur, GA; a great grandson, Ashton Joiner; a brother, William (Valerie) Lewis of Fayetteville, NC; a sister, Gwendolyn Lewis of Columbus, MS; a mother-in-law, Virginia Richardson of Moreno Valley, CA; three sisters-in-law, Deborah McClain of Riverside, CA, Jacqueline Richardson of Lacey, WA, and Denise Richardson of Moreno Valley, CA; and an aunt, Virginia Phillips of Atlanta, GA. He also leaves his cherished memories: a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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