Ralph David Lewis, of Weaverville, died on October 24, 2019 at the age of 95. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Oscar and Lina Levy. During World War II, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U. S. Navy; when his ship, the LST 447, was destroyed by a kamikaze attack during the invasion of Okinawa, Ralph, at the age of 20, took charge of a life raft until, several hours later, he and his men were rescued. For his actions, Ralph received a letter of commendation from then Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal.
He received all of his mathematics degrees from New York University and was a professor of mathematics at Jersey City State College, NJ; the City University of NYC; and Salem State College (now University) in Massachusetts, from which he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1986.
The focus of Ralph’s life was his family: his wife of 54 years Nancy and his daughters and “sons”, Rebecca Alexander and her companion Graham Disque of Johnson City, Tennessee, and Rachael and David Ide of Biltmore Lake. He was a loving and proud grandparent of grandsons Jonathan and Daniel Alexander and Matthew and Ethan Ide. A sister, Carol Goldberg, died before him; three nieces survive him.
Ralph and Nancy married in Brooklyn Heights, NY, 3 months after they met, but spent most of their lives together in New England before retiring to the Asheville area in 1996.
Ralph was a true Renaissance man. He was a landscape painter, who had several art shows in the Newburyport, MA, and Asheville areas and a lover of the theater. He was also a serious reader, a swimmer, a gardener and a sports enthusiast; after moving to this area, he served on the board of SART, took courses at OLLIE and was a member of the Asheville Rose Society. He loved attending Tourist games with his grandsons and was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. Though he grew up in the city, he loved the country, especially his “farm” in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.
A service in celebration of Ralph’s life will be held at the Cathedral of All Souls on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 3:00 p. m.
West Funeral Home is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in his memory be sent to the Weaverville Library, 41 North Main Street, Weaverville, NC 28787 or to Loving Food Resources, 123 Kenilworth Rd, Asheville, NC 28803.
The family wishes to thank the Reverend Milly Morrow and the staff of the VA Hospice for their loving support.
For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Mr. Lewis’ obituary at www.WestFamilyFuneralServices.com.