Cover photo for Carl Benjamin Lewis's Obituary
Carl Benjamin Lewis Profile Photo
1917 Carl 2013

Carl Benjamin Lewis

January 13, 1917 — February 10, 2013


Carl B. Lewis, age 96, died Sunday, February 10, 2013, at his home in The Jefferson in Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Lewis had been a resident of Madison since 2006. He was born January 13, 1917, in Fort Branch, Ind., to Carl B and Lucille Triplett Lewis. He grew up in many small towns in Indiana.

After graduation from High School in Elnora, Indiana, Carl majored in journalism at Indiana University. While working on the student newspaper he met and fell in love with a classmate, Betty Firth. They were married May 16, 1941. Upon leaving college, Mr. Lewis worked on the Indianapolis Star until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. Basic training completed, he was sent to Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. Next he was spent several months at Camp Roberts, Calif. before being ordered to Camp Laguna, Ark. where he became a heavy machine gun platoon leader in Company D, 313th Infantry, 79th Infantry Division.

In June 1944 the Unit went into action in Normandy. Mr. Lewis was in campaigns in Normandy, France and the Rhineland before being wounded for the second time near Luneville, France. He was sent to McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas to recuperate. In his three and one half years of service, he had acquired the Combat Infantry Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters (having been wounded twice) and the Free French Croix de Guerre.

Carl returned to work at the Indianapolis Star after his release from the army. In 1951, Carl left the Star to join the New York based Public Relations firm of Hill and Knowlton in its Cincinnati, Ohio office. The Lewises and their two children, Eleanor and Daniel, moved about the Midwest several times thanks to Hill and Knowlton, making homes in Indiana and Ohio.

In 1957, Carl was transferred to Hill and Knowlton's main office in New York City. The family moved to New Rochelle, N.Y., on the shores of Long Island Sound where Carl indulged his love of sailing. After 12 years, the couple sold the New Rochelle house and bought an apartment in Manhattan.

Mr. Lewis retired from the firm in 1977 as Executive Vice President and went to live on a dairy farm in Sauk County Wisconsin, managed by his son Dan, without ever having spent a winter there. After "ten straight days of 10 below zero" the Lewises headed south, eventually reaching Kerrville, Texas where they lived from 1980 through 2006, although they continued to spend summers at the farm. Carl traded his pinstriped, three-piece Brook's Brothers Suits and custom shirts for a wardrobe from Carhart and Cabellas. Carl resumed his 50-year-old hobby of amateur painting and worked as a consultant three days a month for his former employer. While making their home in Kerrville, the couple traveled widely, visiting 21 countries on three continents. They spent long periods in Mexico and, in their motor home, visited every state except Hawaii.


One of the things that attracted the Lewises to Kerrville was its large and vibrant art community. Carl belonged to the Wednesday and Friday Studio One Painters at the Hill Country Art Foundation, The Kerrville Art Club, and the Geriatric Art Society known as GAS, a group of artists of a certain age. Mr. Lewis was one of the founders of the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, and was in the first group of volunteers at the Cowboy Artist Museum near the Center for Western Art. He also served on the board of the Kerrville Performing Arts Society.

During his career, Mr. Lewis was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, the National Press Club in Washington, the Overseas Press club in New York and the Sheldrake Yacht Club of Mamaroneck, NY.

Mr. Lewis was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Betty, and his sister Marion Heath. Mr. Lewis is survived by his daughter Eleanor (Tom) Flinn of Mazomanie,Wis., son Daniel (Kim) of Reedsburg,Wis., four grandchildren, four great grandchildren, five nephews and one niece.
Carl was grateful to have received exceptional care that enabled him to remain in his home where he was comfortable. Our thanks to the VA Home Based Primary Care Team, UW Ophthalmologist Dr. Julia Agapov, and the extraordinary caregivers from Senior Helpers: Candy Remmington and Gloria Burke, as well as Oyuntugs Dagva, Lorie Mason and many others.

Carl was a lifelong supporter of the arts of all varieties -art, music, literature, theater, photography. In lieu of flowers we suggest you make a donation to the museum or orchestra of your choice, or the Indiana University School of Journalism.

A Celebration of Carl's life with be held at The Jefferson, 9401 Old Sauk Road, Middleton, WI at 2:00 pm on February 23, 2013.
To order memorial trees in memory of Carl Benjamin Lewis, please visit our tree store.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

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