Obituary of Benny Garnett Lewis
Benny G. Lewis (93) of Loveland Colorado left this earth and moved to Heaven on Sunday, March 26th. He joins his parents Mittie and Garnett Lewis and a host of other relatives and friends now worshipping God in His very presence.
He is survived by his wife of almost 68 years, Marlene and 4 children; Steve (Terry) of Loveland, Mark (Wendy) of Iroquois Ontario, Bobby (Kim) of Athens Georgia and Lisa Rodgers (David) of Loveland. Ben and Marlene were also blessed with the opportunity to love and spoil 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Ben was born August 9th, 1929 in Austin, Texas. He graduated from Austin High School where his efforts in Track and Field were successful enough to result in a full ride scholarship as a member of the Track Team at Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College in San Marcos, Texas (now known as Texas State). Although a member of all the sprint relay teams Ben was primarily a quarter mile specialist and set the SWTSTC record for that race in 1951. His record held for 15 years before finally being eclipsed. Ben’s athletic accomplishments at SWTSTC led to his consideration and ultimate induction into the Southwest Texas State “Hall of Honor” in 1989. This honor is based on a combination of athletic success while attending SWTS and documented distinction in whatever profession a former athlete chooses to follow. This induction was one of Ben’s proudest accomplishments.
After college Ben served 3 years in the US Navy aboard the destroyer escort USS Wilkie based out of Key West, Florida. It was there that he met his wife Marlene who was teaching elementary school there. They were married July 30th, 1955 and have been together ever since. Ben was released from the Navy early to attend graduate school. During this time he also coached basketball and track for several junior college programs in the central Texas area. In 1961 he was offered and accepted a position within the Bureau Of Naval Personnel, Recreation Branch as the new Navy-wide Sports Program Coordinator located in Washington, DC. Ben, Marlene and 4 children relocated to the Northern Virginia area where all 4 kids spent their formative years through High School.
The job in DC afforded Ben the opportunity to engage in a career spanning 25 years culminating in his last position as Deputy Director of the Recreation Branch that he was initially hired into. During this time he had maintained his Naval Reserve involvement and retired with the rank of Commander. This career put him in a position to serve as an executive in both the National AAU Committee and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). He was able to attend 3 Olympic games in a managerial/ administrative capacity and participated in many other Olympic Games performing various support functions for the competition/event committees he was assigned to. But his proudest achievement was the work he did to make life better for the US Naval Personnel around the world which was the focus and goal of his division.
Ben retired from civil service in 1986 and he and Marlene relocated back to Austin to be with grandkids and his aging parents. It was this period of his life that resulted in the full expression of his faith in Jesus Christ. His involvement with the faith community of Hope Chapel in Austin brought a new perspective to his view of Christianity and what serving his Lord was intended to look like for him. The family cannot express strongly enough the impact this community had on Ben and how grateful we are for the way Hope Chapel embraced both Ben and Marlene.
During his time in Austin Ben also became deeply involved with the University of Texas track program through contacts he had made with some of the coaching staff. He ultimately became head of meet officials for Texas Relays, a position he relished until his final Relay event in 2006. In 2009 he and Marlene relocated for the final time to Loveland, Colorado where they resided for his final 13 years.
A celebration of Ben’s life will be held on April 24th, 2023 at 1:00 pm. In the sanctuary of Good Shepherd Church (GSC).
3429 N. Monroe Avenue
Loveland, CO 80538
Reception to follow in the GSC “Family Room”
Prayers for the family as we process through the loss of a man we all adored will be greatly appreciated. Any questions for the family should be routed through the Viegut Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested that memorial donations be made to St Jude Children’s Hospital.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Benny Lewis , please visit Tribute Store