Ira Lewis, 101, Harkers Island, passed away on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at the Crystal Coast Hospice House in Newport.
Ira was born on August 2, 1918 to James H. and Elizabeth Lewis of Harkers Island. He was next to the youngest of four full brothers and one full sister and an older half brother and sister.
He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1938 and spent all of his 21 years of service on the south shore of Long Island, NY. He Married Maggie Hancock in 1940 and they raised their children, Ann and Phil, in various communities along that shore.
He was the lighthouse keeper at Montauk Lighthouse at the eastern tip of Long Island for the last 3 ½ years of his military service. He retired in August 1959 and moved back to Harkers Island. He enrolled the children in Smyrna School, built their home on Cape Lookout Drive and worked for nine years at Cherry Point as a civilian.
He applied for a painter job at Cherry Point but was told he didn’t have enough experience. This frustrated him because he had previously scraped and repainted the Montauk Lighthouse. So he quit and went back to commercial fishing; ironically, the very occupation that drove him into the Coast Guard 30 years prior. He fished for 25 years, but when fishing started to decline, he quit and used his boat for short trips in nearby waters with Maggie. Unfortunately, Maggie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 1998 and passed away that following spring. Thereafter, Ira spent lots of time with civic and USCG activities to help keep his mind off the loss of Maggie.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, February 2, 2020 at Free Grace Wesleyan Church in Harkers Island with Pastor Curtis W. Going and Pastor Clint Nelson officiating. Burial will follow with military honors at the Lewis Family Cemetery in Harkers Island.
Ira is survived by his daughter, Margaret Ann Rose and her husband, Leslie; son, Philip Lewis and his wife, Jean; all of Harkers Island; grandchildren, Bruce Kevin Lewis and his wife, Lori of New Bern; Tracy L. Lewis of Harkers Island; Tara Guthrie of Sanford; Jonathan Brett Rose and his wife, Cathy of Gloucester; Joan O’Neal and her husband, JD of Harkers Island; great-grandchildren, Maggie Diane Lewis; Kevin Ian Lewis both of New Bern; Tracy Ethan Lewis of Beaufort; Jonathan Michael Rose and his wife, Rebecca of Bettie; Christopher Ryan Rose; Bertley Paul Willis both of Gloucester; Contessa Ann Willis of Harkers Island; great great-grandson, Dawson Cole Rose of Bettie; and many nieces and nephews within North Carolina and New Jersey.
Ira was preceded in death by his parents, James H. and Elizabeth Lewis; his wife Maggie Hancock Lewis; and all his siblings.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Saturday at Free Grace Wesleyan Church in Harkers Island.
Flowers are welcome or donations may be made to Grace Holiness Church, 127 Porter Cross Rd, Harkers Island, NC 28531 or to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, 1785 Island Rd. Harkers Island, NC 28531.
Electronic condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at www.noefs.org
Arrangements by Noe Funeral Service, Inc. of Beaufort, NC.
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