William G. Lewis (Bill) was born May 8, 1938, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to William J. and Lenore Roethel Lewis. Bill’s mother passed away when he was very young, and his paternal grandmother raised him for five years while his dad was serving in the Army in Europe during WWII. After the war, Bill’s dad married Susan Avery and in the following years a sister and two brothers completed the family. They traveled to military assignments around the U.S., Germany and finally Peru, where Bill graduated from High School. Upon returning to the U.S Bill’s dad became the commander of the ROTC program at the University of Montana, which is how the family came to live in Missoula. He attended U of M for a year, but spent many hours bowling with his buddies at the Treasure State Bowling Center where he was no stranger to rolling a 300 game.
When it came to choosing a career, Bill gravitated toward sales. He liked people, and people liked him. In addition to having a great sense of humor, Bill was honest, enthusiastic, creative, and genuinely a caring person. Whether those qualities came from his early life being raised by a caring and colorful grandmother; or the influence of a disciplined, but well-meaning military father (who mellowed as he grew older) and a sweet, fun-loving, fair-minded Mom, Bill developed the core values he was best known for. The personal qualities melded with other attributes that Bill came by naturally: passion for what he was doing, integrity, being positive, leading by example, loyalty to his employees and customers, and the list goes on. In the late 60’s, he joined in Montana TV and Appliance as Sales Director over electronics and appliance stores in Montana’s largest cities, Billings, Great Falls, Butte, and Missoula. In 1969, Bill and I met in Great Falls where I was teaching French at East Jr. High. I was attracted to all of the above qualities and then some. I found him easy to love. We married in 1971 and recently celebrated 50 years together. We were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Danielle, who Bill loved with all of his heart. He looked forward to her frequent visits which brought sunshine and laughter to his day. We had a wonderful, fun filled life together that would be a joy to do all over again.
In 1974 Bill became the owner-operator of Montana TV-Appliance here in Missoula. Many special relationships grew out of that business, with employees, customers, and business associates. After we closed the family business, he spent several years commuting between Missoula and San Diego where he worked as a Sales Director for a telecom company owned by a friend and former employee he had mentored in Great Falls and Missoula. His retirement years were spent working at Home Depot where former and new customers sought him out because of his exceptional customer service. During those 15 years many of his former customers followed him to Home Depot where he was well known for his customer service. Bill valued the relationship he had with his customers and his fellow employees.
About 4 years ago Bill had a stroke. Although not serious at this time, challenges developed that changed his everyday life. He received continual encouragement from his friends; and special support from a Missoula group called The Puzzle Club, whose purpose is to help people put back their lives together after a brain injury of any kind.
In mid-April Bill developed aspiration pneumonia and was hospitalized for two weeks. When he was discharged, we were happy that he was coming home to a familiar environment with people who loved him, and hopeful he would thrive with better days ahead. Sadly, that was not to be. Bill passed away on Thursday, May 6, 2021. We will remember Bill as a strong, positive man who loved all things golf (playing an “Emergency 9” whenever possible), all things Grizzly, all things fishing and all things Jazz. He looked forward to attending Jazzoula sessions at St Anthony’s every spring. He loved his family and friends, and often said we had the “best neighbors in Missoula.” He deeply loved the beauty of Montana and watching the seasons change from the deck of our family home.
We are saddened by our loss. But Bill would want us to stay positive and “keep on keepin’ on”. He will always be encouraging us along the way. “Head up, shoulders back,” ready to meet whatever might be ahead of us. We will do that for him. However, all of us who knew and loved him, will indeed miss him and the happiness he added to our lives each day.
Bill is survived by his wife, Joyce, daughter, Danielle, dogs Indy and Lucky, grandpup Gracie who absolutely adored her G-PA! Also surviving are his brother, Jim (Dolly) of Sula; sister, Paxie (Randy) Holmes and youngest brother, Kerry, all of Ogden, Utah. Sisters-in-law, Judy (Butch) Cosgrove, Salt Lake City, Utah and Janet Adair, Northport, New York. He was preceded in death by his birth mother, Lenore; Dad, William; Mom, Susan, and brother-in-law, Paul Adair. There are also many surviving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
A Celebration of Bill’s life and a time of sharing is planned for Sunday, June 6, 11:00 a.m. at the Linda Vista Golf Course event room.