William Lewis, Jr.
William Lewis, Jr.

Obituary of William Joseph Lewis, Jr.

OBITUARY WILLIAM “BILL” JOSEPH LEWIS JR. On August 26, Bill Lewis passed away at Montefiore Hospital, an affiliate of the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh. His wife, Dona, was able to be with him. Bill was born in Utica, New York on Nov 5, 1939 to William and Beulah LaPorte Lewis. Bill grew into an exceptional athlete using his 6 foot 7 inch height to great advantage in basketball. Bill also showed his entrepreneurial skills early on, taking on the job of paper boy with such enthusiasm that he won the route sales contest and a new Schwinn bicycle. In 1955, the Lewis family moved to Syracuse. Bill attended local parochial schools and graduated from Nottingham High School in 1958. Bill married young and started his family. He worked tirelessly to support them, working multiple jobs at once. Among his jobs, he swept the floors at Syracuse China and sold door-to-door for Fuller Brush. Through it all, he developed his legendary work ethic and sales skills. He truly thought all work was honorable. One fateful day, Bill drove by the Bristol Myers Pharmaceutical plant in Syracuse and saw a sign they were hiring. He began working on the maintenance crew, dreaming of breaking into sales for the company. He worked hard and, in time, convinced management to give him a chance. Bristol rewarded Bill’s success with a promotion to District Manager and, then, Regional Pharmaceutical Sales Manager which required a move to Richmond, VA. His steady success and rise in pharmaceutical sales had begun. From Bristol, Bill moved to Glaxo and relocated to the Chicago area. He was hired to build the company’s hospital sales force in its move into American markets. While building Glaxo’s client base, Bill is credited with creating the first national accounts program for pharmaceuticals in North America. In 1985, Bill married Dona McCready. In time, they relocated to Sun City, AZ. Their life together was filled with purpose, family, love and great fun. Bill’s humor, wit, riddles, poems, magic tricks, two-dollar-bill finger rings, yodeling and classic cars are unforgettable to everyone who knew him. Truly, when he walked into a room, he was the center of attention. With Dona at his side, Bill’s career came to its peak at FFF Enterprises where Bill rose from Sales Consultant to become the Senior Vice President for Sales and Strategic Alliances. For 23 years, Bill worked tirelessly to grow the client base and sales for FFF and did so successfully. After 57 years in his industry, Bill had become a legend. Bill loved to entertain and was a gracious host. In 2000. Bill and Dona began a project of very special meaning. They purchased a piece of land in Tupper Lake, New York, home to Bill’s maternal ancestors who were among the early settlers in Tupper: the LaPortes, Sears (Cyr) and Auclairs. They planned and built a home to bring their large, loving family together and to share the Adirondacks with friends. And they did just that. Bill loved his work and especially his time at FFF. So much so that he forgot to retire. He finally did retire just last May. The last weekend in July, he celebrated Dona’s birthday in Tupper with family gathered around him. He had just begun his post-retirement volunteer service at the Wild Center in Tupper. When not working, Bill enjoyed all sports, golfing, puttering around his homes, tinkering with his cars, and—most of all—spending time with friends and family. Bill is survived by his bride, Dona, and by children Bill (Jill); Scott; Bob (Sue); Jeffrey; Heather Lewis Buchholz (Keith); Sharon Neeld Leavitt and Craig Neeld (Michele) as well as by friends and relatives all across the country. He was predeceased by son Phillip Lewis, daughter, Jessica Lewis, son-in-law Chuck Leavitt and brother-in-law Jack Sarna. Also surviving are his sister, Lynette Sarna, brother, Michael (Donald), and 10 grandchildren. After losing his daughter to spinal muscular atrophy, Bill became a tremendous advocate for children’s health. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Cure SMA, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Ronald McDonald House. A Funeral mass for William “Bill” Joseph Lewis Jr., will be held on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 11:00 AM at St. Alphonsus Church. Calling hours will take place at Frary Funeral Home following mass.
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Saturday
4
September

Mass

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, September 4, 2021
St. Alphonsus Church
Wawbeek Ave.
Tupper Lake, New York, United States
Saturday
4
September

Calling Hours

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Frary Stuart Funeral Home
24 Cliff Avenue
Tupper Lake, New York, United States
3153931414
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