W.J. “Jack” Lewis, M.D., clinical professor emeritus of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, died on April 5, 2014. He was 89.
He was part of a group of people who were involved in the development of the medical school in the early 1970s. Passionate about medical education, he was thrilled to be a part of a new kind of medical school— one that emphasized primary care education. He enjoyed teaching ethics to medical students.
“To me, however, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a unique experiment based upon principles in which I believe,” he wrote in a May 1977 article in the Ohio State Medical Association Journal.
Born in Indiana in 1924, his hometown doctor in Princeton, Indiana, inspired him to become a family physician. He earned his undergraduate degree at DePauw University and then went on to medical school at Indiana University, where he met his wife, Ann, who was studying to be a nurse. The couple was married for 63 years and had four children. He served his country honorably during World War II in the medical corps, beginning in Africa and then in Italy.
His family describes Lewis as an old-fashioned family medicine doctor, who had a listening ear and was a confidant to thousands. His patients would come to him for a sore shoulder or another ailment, but they would tell him a lot more. He took phone calls at his Kettering home and remained a doctor-oncall for the rest of his life.
He practiced for 37 years with Lou Haley, M.D., in the Dayton suburb of Oakwood. He was chief of staff at Kettering Medical Center and was president of the Montgomery County Medical Society. He was involved with the Ohio State Medical Association and was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Medical Association. He founded and directed an all-physicians’ glee club that performed locally and nationally for more than 30 years.
Lewis was involved with the Physicians Charitable Foundation of the Miami Valley, serving as its president several times and participating on the distribution committee. The foundation has given a total of $185,000 to the Boonshoft School of Medicine since 1999. Most recently, the foundation gave $75,000 to the medical school’s Skills Assessment & Training Center. The money will be used for technical equipment in the training of medical students and other health care professionals. Lewis will be recognized with a plaque in the Skills Assessment & Training Center.
Lewis is survived by his wife, Ann; their four children, Bill Lewis, Kathy Dierkes, Megan Haddox, and Jill Lewis; and seven grandchildren.