Lewis stays busy with city work
Published 5:26 am Wednesday, January 21, 2004
By BY LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Walter "Jake" Lewis is 79 years old, but he is still going pretty strong. He is one of five members of the Brewton City Council. He is serving the last few months of his second term before entering the race for the upcoming term.
Lewis didn't have aspirations to go into politics all his life but has enjoyed the time that he has been on the council well enough to run again.
He was born the only child of Albert and Essie Lewis at his family home on Cemetery Road. His mother was a school teacher and wanted him to have a good education. She taught at Oak Grove School on Pea Ridge Road. He attended that school for a short time and then went to City School which was located near the box factory. He attended there until the ninth grade and then transferred to Southern Normal where he graduated in 1942.
He graduated at a time when the world was at war and soon he became part of the military force. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and went to Europe with General Patton's 3rd Army Division. They saw plenty of action during the rest of the war over several countries.
After he came back from overseas, he was in the Army Reserve for another three years.
One good thing to come out of the war for him was the G.I. Bill which gave him the chance to go to Tuskegee where he graduated in 1948.
He returned to Brewton after graduation and was hired by Jack Hines Realty. In fact, he was one of the first group hired when the company was formed. After about nine months he got a message from a friend that wanted him to come to work with him in North Carolina. He agreed and helped build some barracks at Fort Bragg. After that he decided to come back to South Alabama and the Hines Company. He worked there for 38 years and still does some sign work for them.
During the same years that he worked for Hines, he was holding down two more jobs.
That was in the days when the country club was located on Hwy. 31, north of Dogwood Hills where it then moved.
After working for Hines for 38 years he went full time with the police department and became a familiar sight as the police escort for the T.R. Miller High School football team along with his other duties. He actually retired from the Brewton Police Department in 1990 but continued to work until 1996. He rose in the ranks to become a lieutenant.
It was in 1996 that Lewis decided he wanted to run for office. He thought that maybe he would be able to help people in his district get some of the things they needed. That year he was in a run-off but came out the winner and the next time he ran unopposed. There will be another election this year and he plans on running again.
Almost 54 years ago, in April of 1950, he married his wife, Jewell, who was from Butler County. Her sister had been going to school here and he met Jewell through her. They became the parents of three children, Kimii D. Felder, Gail D. Lewis and Walter D. Lewis. Kimii is now in sales in Niceville, Fla. Gail passed away in 2002 and Walter is in bonds and investments at GMC in Birmingham. Walter attended T.R. Miller High School and was an outstanding football player. In fact, he was so outstanding that he received a scholarship to play at the University of Alabama. Afterwards he went on to play professional football with several teams including New England.
Jake and Jewell Lewis live in a house that he helped build on Underwood Street over 50 years ago. She is involved in several activities to help others, such as keeping an eye on the elderly when the weather is really cold. She also keeps a supply of clothing for anyone who needs it.
According to Jewel, Jake is making up for some of that sleep he lost back during the years when he was working all those jobs. He spends a lot of time sleeping in his favorite chair. Other than that and looking out for his district, he does like to play a little golf and of course there are those grandchildren and great-grandchildren to visit.