James “Jim” Lewis, 76, resident of Rio Rancho, NM since 2008, passed away Sunday, November 5, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Dana Lewis, of Rio Rancho, NM; daughter, Carrie and her husband Matt Smith of Alpine, CA, daughter, Sara and her husband Benton Spradlin of Corrales, NM, son, James and his wife Flora Lewis of Corrales, NM; grandchildren, Ben and Ella Spradlin of Corrales, NM; brother, Gary and Margarett Lewis of Orange, CA, sister, Sandi and Robert Bevan of Alta Loma, CA. Mr. Lewis was preceded in death by his father, James Lewis, mother, Dorothy Lewis, and brother, Donald Lewis.
Jim was born in Orange, California. He and Dana met in French class at Garden Grove High School. Jim attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for two years. Dana and Jim married on July 1, 1967. Jim was accepted to the University of California, Irvine in Southern California. He graduated in UCI’s first graduating class with a Bachelor of History and a minor in Latin American Studies. Jim pursued a Master's degree at Long Beach State University and graduated with a Master’s of European and North American History.
Jim taught History and English at De Anza Middle School in Ontario, CA for thirty-five years. He also served as a coach of various sports including basketball and track for many years. He was also a football official for all ages, but primarily officiated high school football for twenty-five years in Southern California. He rarely missed a day of work and during the summertime he worked construction and landscaping jobs to provide for his family.
Jim had a great sense of humor, always telling funny stories at family dinners, and he always had a good comeback. He also had a love for music. As a child, he had an accordion he liked to play and even took it on family road trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco to visit his mother’s relatives. He shared his love of music with his family and friends by creating compilations of songs he thought others would enjoy.
He loved the beaches in Southern California and spent many days body surfing in Newport Beach. He was skilled at home projects, always working on a new home improvement job. No project was too difficult or daunting. Throughout his life, he enjoyed many activities including fishing, boating, and golfing and was an avid reader.
Jim had many wonderful friendships. He was giving, honest, and caring. His greatest source of joy was spending time with his family. He loved living in New Mexico in his retirement and all the wonderful moments spent with his grandchildren. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by friends and family.