Eli Stone Lewis, Jr. was born in Dawson, Georgia on June 27, 1926 to Eli Stone Lewis, Sr. and Ora Lee McDowell Lewis. He was the first Boy Scout in Terrell County, GA to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, which he did when he was fifteen years old. He added the honorary rank of Order of the Arrow at a Boy Scout Camp in Atlanta, GA.
Eli graduated from Dawson High School in 1943 at age sixteen. He played on a championship basketball team as a senior in high school. Upon graduation, his goal was to join the U.S. Navy, but he enrolled at The Citadel University in Charleston, SC and attended for one year. He joined the U.S. Navy at age eighteen and spent the next two years aboard ship as a radioman. The last six months of service in the Navy was spent in Shanghai, China.
Upon discharge from the Navy, he enrolled in the University of Georgia and graduated in 3.25 years, with a BS Degree in Forestry.
While in college, he met Mona Faye Brooks from Albany, and they were married on November 20, 1948.
They lived in Dawson after college, for 27 years, where they were active in the community. While in Dawson, Eli was the owner of Lewis Hardware Company, which was started as R.E. McDowell Company by his grandfather, R.E. McDowell. R.E. McDowell Company was also owned by a succession of partners, including Eli Lewis, Sr., Ples McDowell and Flynn Bridges. Eli served on the Dawson City Council, was President of the Dawson Rotary Club, Director at the Bank of Dawson and member of the First Baptist Church of Dawson, holding various offices. He organized a local A.A. group before moving to Albany. While living in Albany, he became interested in growing and hybridizing daylilies. He and his wife owned Lewis Gardens, a daylily nursery. He organized the Albany Daylily Club before relocating to Sarasota, FL, where he lived until 1998.
Eli and his wife were both avid watercolor artists, and enjoyed painting while they traveled the U.S. for 4-5 months each year in a motor home.
Faye was killed in an auto accident in 2003 and Eli lived alone, but continued to paint and be active at the First Baptist Church of Ocala. He relocated to Ocoee in 2017.
Eli is survived by three children: daughter, Mona Lewis Gabriel (Bryan) of Athens, GA; daughter, Mitzi Lewis of LaGrange, GA; and son, Dana Eli Lewis of Ocoee, FL. He has six grandchildren, Betsy Sinclair, Jon Thurman, Phillip Buchan, Mallory Smith, Grace Lewis and Eli Lewis, III; and 12 great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Dawson at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 21, 2018, with interment to follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery. Rev. Ed Johnson will officiate. A visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to the service.
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