It is a privilege and great honor to be the person asked by the family to eulogize my dear friend and brother who passed away on December 13, 2012 at the age of 59; 7 days before his 60th birthday.
Harold (Hal) was born December 20, 1952 in Nashville, Tennessee to Harold Paul Lewis Jr. and Loretta Jane Green. He attended and graduated from Villa Park High School. He was a loving faithful providing husband and supportive father of a beautiful daughter. He had many occupations including, Sunkist packing, food services, volunteer fire-fighter, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and decorated veteran of the U. S. Army Medical Corp. Hal lived his life dedicated to helping people.
Hal was preceded in death by the passing of his brother Timothy.
Hal is survived by: Wife Dianne Atkinson and Daughter Jennifer of Fullerton, California, Parents Harold Lewis and Loretta Green Lewis of Salem, Indiana, Brothers David Lewis of Apache Junction, Arizona, Guy Lewis of Payson, Arizona, Daniel Lewis of California, Christopher Lewis of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Sister Paula Lewis Herdt of Salem, Indiana, many cousins, nieces and nephews and his beloved cat’s: Scooby, Chomper, and Ashley.
Hal was my friend, my brother: Right now, I’m am 100% sure that Hal is in a better place.
You see, even though we each basically took different paths in life, I was blessed with watching Hal take the courage to face life, going against our dad’s wishes for his eldest son by choosing to make a difference in the lives of others instead of seeking the material riches of corporate America; choosing the care giving path.
In so many ways Hal was more than a brother; somewhere along the way, true trust grew and two individuals learned to help each other grow and face life. In 1974, with me, still wet behind the ears; Hal was the person to console me at the ending of my High School relationship – informing me that life goes on and “this too shall pass.”
During the last 10 years of my drinking and drugging career, Hal was one of the few people that did not give up on me; encouraging and supporting my efforts to escape a chemical hell. Hal’s tireless support was rewarded on January 28, 1990.
In January of 2006, when facing my first ever major surgery: Tumor gripping the lower aorta, Hal again was a big encouragement, by helping me face reality with grace and courage. Hal helped me learn to face my fears. Hal knew that this retired cop was scared to death at the possible surgery. Like a true friend, Hal comforted me with words of hope and courage: Letting me know that God would be with me in the surgery and that I would be ok. Hal would tell me that I would live through the dangerous surgery because God was not done with me here on earth.
Twice, October and November 2012, Hal cared so much for me that he personally contacted the Arizona Heart Hospital, to ensure I was in the best of care following my major heart attack. He cared so much that he sent the operating staff and the ICU staff a wonderful fruit basket and a personal thank you card for their efforts to save my life.
I know that Hal’s passing is hard on his wife and daughter, sister, brother’s and parents. I know in my heart he is with us. I know how much he loved you, me, others, and life.
Hal was the kind of friend that stood by you no matter what. He was the kind of friend that did not direct you but walked with you through life’s ups and downs. He was the kind of friend that lived his integrity by doing his very best to always do what he committed to do. He was the kind of friend that made the best brother ever.
Hal will always be with us, and his legacy will continue through his wife, daughter, friends, and family, in our memories. Hal would smile if he were here with us today. He would have some funny story to tell to make everyone comfortable, and we would, for a moment, forget our sadness. I will miss my brother and my friend dearly, but I am also grateful for having known him.
There will never be another Hal.
I know that he is safe from harm, free from the physical illnesses or pain, and I know that he is not afraid.
Hal loved us all and we all loved him.
As a brother and friend of Harold Paul Lewis III, it is my hope that this poem will inspire all of us and that its effect will linger a very long time, or better yet, forever, in our hearts!
I hope to make the dash of Hal’s life: Something worth remembering.
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who love her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
By Linda Ellis, 1996