When I’ve tell stories about my Dad, I’m always hopeful that I don’t give the impression that Cecil Lewis was only an outlaw or something. He was, but what can I say, he was Cecil Lewis.
Truly a one of a kind. If he liked you he’d do anything for you, if he didn’t like you, he’d still do anything for you.
He was liked by most people, respected by many but people knew to give him a wide berth.
I owe much of my success to him. Not only in the things he taught me to do, but in the things I learned not to do.
He was the nicest yet the meanest guy you ever met.
He was tough yet had a tender heart.
He was a good story teller but not always a very good listener.
He loved his sons but was always hard on us. He knew going soft on us wasn’t the best way to make men out of us. He taught us how to work. He provided every kind of machine imaginable for us to learn on. He turned us loose at an early age and expected us to self-teach ourselves how to operate. He didn’t hover over us barking out instructions. He didn’t point out which lever or which peddle did what. I guess he figured if we didn’t have the common sense to figure it out, how would we ever get anywhere.
Cec was an experimenter. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t try. Most of the time he made things work. But when things didn’t work out, he simply went about it a different way until he got what he wanted.
He didn’t set rules. He just expected results at the end of the day. I’m really thankful that he passed some of those traits on to me.
When he and my mother took on Joy and Jan to raise (their mother, a sister to my mother – was killed in a horrible car wreck just months before I graduated from High School). He morphed into a different person in the raising of his girls. It was sweet and amazing to watch.
The stories of Cecil Lewis are never ending. Bonnie Gay (he almost always addressed her that way) was the only person that could really cause him to stand at attention. She was a small lady, but had grit and determination.
She was the glue that held us all together regardless of what happened. It’s been more than a quarter of a century since she left us and I miss her daily.
Cec lasted about 5 years more years, but never really adapted to life without her.
I can honestly say that, while I missed him, his drinking had put a strain on our relationship in his later years. It made it easier to cope with his passing.
Now with recalling all the stories about him, it makes me finally really start to miss him.
So please understand that I don’t tell these stories to disparage him in any way. They are told because he can’t. If he were here, he would be telling them, with laughter mixed in, like only Cecil Lewis could do. He never minded making fun of himself.
As I show him in his Navy Finery.
Below is the story of his journey being a Navy man.