John Thayer Lewis

August 28, 1929 ~ April 26, 2020 (age 90)


John T. Lewis, master sign painter and long time resident of Boulder MT, died peacefully on April 26, 2020 at the Wilkins Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Duncan, OK. He was 90 years old.

John was born in Rifle, CO on August 9, 1929. He was the second son of Wade V. Lewis Sr. and Jessie Thayer Lewis. John grew up during the Depression which shaped his inclination towards innovation. He collected “good” stuff and repaired cars, clocks and restored all manner of things.

John was one of 8 children moving frequently throughout the Western states as the family followed their father’s interest in mining. They finally settled in Boulder MT where Wade Sr., geologist and mining engineer, discovered uranium and radon’s curative benefits at the current location of the Free Enterprise Health Mine. John was class president in his senior year at Jefferson High School in 1949. From his high school years, and thereafter, John assisted his father with field work at mining claims in and around Boulder and the Elkhorn district.

John joined the Marines and fought in the 11th Artillery Battalion during the Korean War. Upon his return to Montana, he attended college in Bozeman and later learned his sign painting skills. John’s hand-lettered signs still remain in Boulder and surrounding communities.

He designed and built a new apartment for his mother and restored a homestead cabin on family property below Elkhorn. John also attempted to play the fiddle and piano. John was a man of conviction and was willing to accept the consequences for what he believed. He married and divorced twice. He was honest, generous and caring; a good son and brother, helping to care for his mother during her final years. He had a fun-loving sense of humor and a hearty laugh.

In his later years he tried to make a home in the former old bank building on Boulder’s Main Street, now the Heritage Center & Museum. This location was also his father’s downtown office for the health mine. In 1997 he held a “BARN SALE - old man moving South”. Thereafter, Texas then Oklahoma was his home.

John was a member of Grace Community Fellowship (formerly First Baptist Church of Boulder) and later Velma Christian Fellowship in Oklahoma. He is survived by 3 of his sisters: Kathleen Long and Susan Parker, both of Helena, MT; and Mary Lewis of Rainier, OR. He has numerous nieces and nephews. All wish to express their heartfelt appreciation to his brothers in Christ, family, friends and care-givers who supported and cared for him in his final years.

John will be buried in the Alma Cemetery at Alma, OK, with a graveside service to be announced at a later date. An appropriate remembrance could be directed to his Church or charity of choice.

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