John M. Lewis, age 80, of E. Third St., Bloomsburg died on March 18, 2021 during a brief stay at Geisinger Hospice at Maria Hall in Danville. His death came after an almost four-year battle with cancer.
Born in Carbondale on November 1, 1940, he was the son of the late John R. and Veronica (Ruane) Lewis. He graduated from Carbondale High School in 1959 and attended Bloomsburg State Teachers College. John honorably served his country during the Vietnam War as a member of the U. S. Navy from 1962 to 1966, serving for four years, three months and 28 days.
John held a variety of jobs throughout his life until two months before he passed. He and a childhood friend owned a hoagie shop in Bloomsburg. He lived in Lake Tahoe for a time where he tended bar at the CalNeva Lodge. “What a place to Live”, he said. He returned to Bloomsburg to tend bar at Russell’s Restaurant. Most recently, he owned and operated Columbia Distributors, a power cleaning and commercial soap sales business.
A friend commented on John’s amazing efforts over many years to help people recover and renew their lives. That effort began when he volunteered with the American Red Cross and was deployed twice to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Further deployments found him in New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma and California. He always had a bag packed and ready to leave on a moment’s notice. The Lewisburg Chapter honored him with their Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013.
He found some of his most rewarding experiences of his life when teaching driver training for other Red Cross volunteers. He served as the Red Cross representative to the Brighter Christmas Fund Board, primarily assisting with fire victims. In addition, John was a driver safety instructor with AARP and a member of the Columbia County Democratic Committee. He found great enjoyment serving as a volunteer at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble performances.
One of John’s favorite things was to spend time with his buddies. Most early mornings, he could be found having breakfast at The Bloomsburg Diner. The tradition began even years before at the Former Speer’s Restaurant.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Gretchen Ann Henz, on May 12, 2018.
John is survived by two sisters: Kathryn R., wife of Daniel A. Lostaglio and Mary Jane, wife of Stephen C. Laubach, all of Berwick; a brother Russell W. Lewis of Bloomsburg; a nephew and several nieces; and several other special children, some now grown. He is also survived by his partner of more than 30 years, Joan Mosier. He thanks her for making him a better person.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg, with Rev. Dr. Gene Gordon, officiating. Interment will follow in New Rosemont Cemetery, Espy. Military Honors will be performed by the U.S. Navy and the combined American Legion and VFW honor guard. Family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m.
Memorials may be sent to Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, 226 Center Street, Bloomsburg PA 17815.
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Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble
226 Center St, Bloomsburg PA 17815