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Robert "Bob" H. Lewis

January 10, 1931 March 4, 2020
Robert "Bob" H. Lewis
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Obituary for Robert "Bob" H. Lewis

Robert “Bob” Lewis, 89, passed away March 4, 2020 at his home surrounded by his family. A private graveside service was held at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at the family home at a later date.
Bob was born in Walla Walla on January 10, 1931 and was raised by his parents, Melvin and Hazel Lewis, on a farm near Stateline. After graduating from Ferndale and Mac-Hi, Bob attended Oregon State University until he joined the air force in 1951. While stationed at Elmendorf AFB in 1953 he married Gloria Smith from College Place WA, after wooing her long distance with frequent witty and humorous letters. He returned to OSU in 1955 and completed a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management followed by an M.S. in Fisheries.
Bob started his career as a research scientist with OSU before accepting employment with the California Department of Fish and Game as a pollution bio-analyst, followed by a position with the State Water Resources Control Board working in water pollution control. Bob and Gloria bought a new house in Sacramento in 1966 and Bob spent many evenings and weekends with his family landscaping, building fences, planting a garden, and even constructing a redwood swimming pool. He eventually added a room onto the house, following instructions from do-it-yourself books. Bob’s pastimes also included hunting and fishing, golfing, camping, boating, canoeing, and family vacations across the western U.S. and Canada. His deep interest in wildlife and the natural environment were shared whenever opportunities presented themselves.
From 1980 until 2002, Bob worked intermittently for environmental management projects focusing on water pollution control in developing countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bhutan, and Tajikistan. Gloria accompanied Bob much of the time, assisting him in his duties. In addition to employment-related travel, the couple enjoyed excursions to many other countries. After retiring from overseas projects in 2003, Bob returned to the Milton-Freewater area to live full time with his family and worked for three years with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation on stream enhancement projects. Since then, he has kept busy writing designated area reports for Walla Walla County raptor protection and providing piano music at various local assisted living and retirement communities. Music was an important part of Bob’s life beginning with piano lessons at the age of 5, followed by playing clarinet and saxophone in his high school and university bands. He also played saxophone in air force bands in Texas and Alaska and later carried his instrument with him on his travels around the world, sitting in with various musicians in local venues.
Bob is survived by his wife, Gloria Lewis, son Robert M. Lewis and daughter Kathleen Lewis; Robert Rex Lewis and Michael Graviet; granddaughters; Bethany (Norman) Shaw, Madison Lewis, Annebelle Lewis, Isobela Lewis, grandsons; Spencer Preston, Isen Lewis, Dayne Lewis, great-grandsons Desmond and Charles Shaw.
Bob’s sense of humor, intelligence, musical talent, and caring support will be greatly missed by his family and all those who knew and loved him.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Society through Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 The Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla. Friends and family may share memories and sign the online guestbook at

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Memorial Contribution

Blue Mountain Humane Society

7 George Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362

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