Roy Carlyle Lewis

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  • ""don't let the buggers get you down" he would advise me"
    - Daniel Glover
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Roy Carlyle Lewis, 95
GORHAM - A world that needs more tolerance and kindness just lost one of its greatest supporters in Roy Carlyle Lewis.
Whenever Carlyle would bid farewell to a loved one embarking on a journey, especially one with an unknown date of return, he would say, in his deep, resonate calming voice, "Well, you have to leave in order to come back!" He'd add a heartfelt prayer of Godspeed, protection and love. Then, with his enveloping smile of peace and knowing, light radiating from his blue eyes, he would wish them well in their travels.
On Tuesday morning, Jan. 30, 2018, at the cusp of the lunar eclipse of a super, blood blue moon, attended by both his spiritual and physical family, Carlyle, 12 days into his 95th year, embarked on his final journey. We send you off with our prayers. We wish you well in your travels.
Though the insidious disease of Alzheimer's gradually robbed him of his memories and clarity, this thief of time did little to steal away his kindness, compassion, generosity, wit and wisdom. When his family and friends speak of Carlyle, you will hear them say "a true Southern gentleman!" His voice and manner showed genuine interest and caring for those he met. He really listened and offered supportive compassion mixed with appropriate humor. He filled many roles and wore many hats (his favorite ones were of a dark felt Western style). Those of us who knew him as a friend, brother, father and intimate companion will miss him greatly. In his papers, there is the title of a service he had given many years ago, "Life, The Everlasting Memorial." We feel this title expresses his time with us and how it will continue.
He also wrote, "If you treat people better than they think they are, they will BE better than they think they are and better than you think they are." This is how he lived his life.
He enjoyed both the solitude and companionship of fishing; the quietude of being on or by the water. He loved his garden and the joy that his vegetables and flowers brought to him and others. Sometimes just sitting in the yard, with the smell of fresh cut grass all around, was enough as well.
He was a voracious reader. His library ranged from old books of every genre, to histories of war, religious studies, poetry and current works. Carlyle also shared his creativity as a writer and a poet. From short musings to sermons or lectures, from little ditties to in-depth stanzas, he had a way with words.
Carlyle had a great eye for photography. From the capturing of a moment in nature or a look on someone's face, to producing the photos in his darkroom, many pictures were part of his life.
He was also a good artist. With watercolors and acrylics, he could re-create paintings from his photos at home or paint on-site at Yellowstone National Park. He was just that sort of Renaissance man.
He was born in Huntington, W.Va., on Jan. 19, 1923, the first son of Roy Lewis and Gladys (Hager) Lewis. He loved those "country roads" and hills throughout his youth. He proudly served in active duty in Europe during World War II, along with his father and both brothers. After serving in the Battle of the Bulge, he found he was never quite warm thereafter. Although he enlisted as a medic, his experiences changed his course of life. He returned and graduated from Marshall College in Huntington. He then studied at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He moved to Maine to become the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Westbrook. Later on he received a degree from The University of New Hampshire. He was always a minister, but he also became a professor of anatomy and physiology at Westbrook College in Portland and later at Southern Maine Community College.
He was fortunate to meet the first love of his life, Mildred Cottrill, and during their 37 years together, they welcomed three children, Diane, Nancy and Michael. With Milie's passing, throughout the next 27 years, he found a new love and reason for living, with Shirley Connor, of Gorham, and her daughters, Erin and Tara.
Carlyle was predeceased by his parents; his two brothers, Norris and Jack Lewis; his wife, Mildred; and daughter Nancy. He is survived by his partner, Shirley Connor; daughter, Diane Whiton; son, Michael Lewis; and several grandchildren, Benjamin Lewis, Kayla Dulpee, and Carson Whiton.
We send a deep heartfelt thank you to the entire staff at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, especially to those of Unit A, where they cared for him during the 20 months of his stay. From the nurses, CNAs and volunteers, to those in the dining room, laundry and housekeeping, the care was more than just the expected professionalism. They maintained his dignity and showed kindly concern mixed with a bit of humor, which was his trademark. We thank you for your service.
A service to celebrate Carlyle's life will be held Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. at St Ann's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Windham Center and River Roads in Windham. Please join us. To express condolences and participate in Carlyle's online tribute, please visit:

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Funeral Home
Dolby, Blais & Segee - Windham Chapel
434 River Road
Windham, ME 04062
(207) 892-6342
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 4, 2018
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