MADISON - Steve Lewis, who grew up playing on the Yahara River, Cherokee Marsh, and Lake Mendota, died February 28, 2016 at home in Madison. He was 72 and a lifetime Madisonian.
Steve's love of the water led to his career at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where for more than 25 years, he worked as a landscape architect/park planner, construction representative, and project manager. His professional reach was international, serving as President of the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) and as a member of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) Boating Facilities Committee.
Steve was born on Madison's east side on February 3, 1944, the son of Hugh and Gladys Lewis. After graduating from Madison West High School in 1962, he attended UW-Madison, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture. As a proud member of the UW Marching Band, he played his cornet at the 1963 Rose Bowl, one of the "greatest bowl games of all time."
Steve gave back to his community and cherished his family and friends around the world. He was a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, president of the Hill Farm Swim Club, and Commodore of the Mendota Yacht Club. He enjoyed sailing, bicycle riding, photography, traveling (especially to Door County), and spending time with his family and Labrador Retrievers. He considered himself lucky to own two, Major Decision and Vigilant Ranger Boy--truly his best friends. Just like Steve, they were active, friendly, and outgoing.
Steve fully embraced life. He loved feeling the wind on his face as he sailed and cruised around Lake Mendota, traversed area bike trails, and drove his beloved red convertible through the countryside. With his signature laughter and wry humor, he never lost his childlike sense of wonder at the world around him. One could picture him thinking, "It doesn't get any better than this. I'm a lucky man."
He is survived by Ellen (Gorman) Lewis, his wife of 46 years; his two children, Amy (Jeff) Levy of Eden Prairie, MN and Andrew Lewis of Madison; and his brother Robert Lewis of Middleton. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 12 at 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church, 1609 University Avenue in Madison.
Special thanks to Dr. David Hei, Nurse Sandy, Eldonna Hazen, Agrace HospiceCare, and Steve's wonderful family of friends for their care, generosity, love, and support. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gathering Waters (gatheringwaters.org) or the Dane County Humane Society (giveshelter.org).
Please share your memories of Steve.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road Madison
Steve was a true Architectural Innovator and Creative Genius. His intellectural grasp of complex design was astonishing in a evolving field of Landscape Architecture.
Ellen, so sorry for your loss. I greatly enjoyed working with Steve over many years in the DNR. I was very pleased that Steve was able to work so hard on boating access in the state and with SOBA. He did a great job of helping to organize SOBA's 25th anniversary conference in LaCrosse and where he also received SOBA's highest professional recognition, the Ivers Award. We were all so proud of him. I'm sure your loving support over the years greatly helped Steve in accomplishing these things. God Bless you and your family. Steve Miller
Ellen, Jim and I are sorry about Steve's recent death. Steve had a great sense of humor and so enjoyed his boats, cars and of course his dear dogs. IT was always fun to run into him in the neighborhood. He will be missed. I also have so much admiration for the uncompromising care you provided to Steve during his long illness. Your unwavering strength and willingness try almost anything to make Steve's as comfortable as possible was truly remarkable. Love to you Amy, Jeff and Andrew. Colleen and Jim
Ellen, We will never forget that very fun, special week we spent w/you & Steve, Bill & Jane (AKA the Organizers), Pati & Bruce and John & Pat in Edisto Island (2009). We remember that naughty twinkle in his eye as he encouraged the women's "dance attacks." Steve was generous, thoughtful & so funny- we loved him! Love you! Mike & Carla
Ellie: Cheryl and I are so glad that we got to know you two. As with many others we met you through SOBA; a great organization with great people as members. Steve and I shared many hours together while we were at the helm of SOBA, his help and guidance made my work that much easier. He shared his wisdom and wit with boaters around the world Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are here if you need us. LK & CK
Elly, I so regret that I didn't meet you sooner and have a chance to get to know Steve. We would have had a lot in common with our love of nature and the outdoors. Know that I'm thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.
Ellen, We wanted to extend our sincere sympathies to you and your family at this time. We will always fondly remember Steve's kind hospitality and gracious hosting when you and Steve hosted our Madison Civics Club Public Affairs meetings at your home. Steve's grace, humor, and welcoming presence was always there, and we will always remember that. All our best to you and your family. Greg & Trish Iaccarino
Ellen, we are so sorry for your loss. We met you both through SOBA, and know of his many contributions to the organizations. Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Gary & Jane Iles
I knew Steve through our affiliation with the States Organization for Boating Access. Steve was smart and witty, positive, a mentor, always smiling and pleasant and was a great ambassador for boating access. Thanks for sharing him with us Ellen and our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Deepest sympathy from Steve's friends from the boating access community. God Bless, James Adams.
I want to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family in the loss of Steve. I have known Steve for many years, with SOBA and ACE. I appreciate the card you all sent me when Missy passed away in December. So I can truly say I know what you are going through, if you ever need to talk to someone, please call me 334-799-9149. Only time can heal the loss, but everything will be already.
I miss seeing Steve mornings and evenings, with Major and then Ranger, and miss even more watching Steve lovingly washing and polishing his cars, over and over, an eternal boy with his toys. He was a wonderful neighbor and our street has been measurably lessened by the loss of his laughter.
Steve always used to walk past our house with his big black lab. Sometimes I would be out front working on our sailboat and he would stop and we would chat about sailing and S2 7.9s. He even helped me with some hard to find parts. Steve always had a smile and a cheerful attitude even when the treatments hard. I will miss him.
Steve enjoyed life and we love the red sport cars.. The last case of pbr he bought me and pbr sign and bell will always make me think of you ringing in Lakewood .. later steve
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