Commander Jesse W. Lewis Jr. (USN-retired) died on February 24, 2019 at the age of 89. Born to Jesse Sr. and Muriel (Goyer) Lewis in North Cohocton, NY in July of 1929, Jesse is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Lillian (McCartney); six children: Jeffery (Mary), Muriel Reeve, Wyeth (Mary Jo), LaVerne (Larry) McGrail, Jon (Anne) and Jim (Heiti); 12 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren (with one more on the way…)
Jesse joined the Navy at age 17 and over a 31-year career, including the Korean and Vietnam wars, he advanced into the officer corps, became a carrier-based pilot and squadron commander. Following multiple Pacific fleet wartime deployments, Cdr. Lewis was reassigned to Naval Headquarters in Washington DC, then sent to the U.S Army War College followed by his last deployment, with the Atlantic fleet, on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt out of Jacksonville, FL.
Near the end of his career, the Navy asked Jesse where he wanted to retire. Minnesota and its lakes had earlier captured Jesse’s imagination while visiting his uncle, Wilbur (Bill) Goyer, and so Minnesota was his choice. His final assignment was as the Executive Officer of the Naval ROTC unit at the University of Minnesota.
The family moved to White Bear Lake and a few years later, Jesse “retired” for the first time. After retirement, he went on to complete a master’s degree in teaching and then worked 15 years more for MN Department of Education before finally retiring “for real” in 1991. Jesse also served on the White Bear Lake school board and was a long-time volunteer as a tax preparation aide for senior citizens.
Jesse loved to be on the water. Not a surprise given his choice of branch of service. On his beloved Bald Eagle Lake, Jesse would be seen sailing his Hobie cat, fishing from an old fishing boat and entertaining friends and neighbors with his stories and dumb Dad jokes during moonlit evening pontoon boat parties. He was even elected to be the ceremonial Commodore of the neighborhood beach association and was honored to light the Christmas tree pile at the annual Christmas tree burning event on the lake that year.
Having joined the Catholic Church late in life, Jesse connected with and found great comfort and joy in his new faith, meeting many beautiful friends at St. Jude of the Lake in Mahtomedi.
Visitation will be 4-5:30PM; 6:30-8PM, with Rosary at 7:30PM on Thursday, March 7 at BRADSHAW FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES, 4600 Greenhaven Drive, White Bear.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11AM at ST. JUDE OF THE LAKE, 700 Mahtomedi Ave, Mahtomedi, Friday, March 8, 2019 with visitation at the church one hour prior to Mass. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on a future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations preferred to St. Jude of the Lake School at https://www.stjudeofthelake.org/electronic-giving/.