Billy Gene Lewis

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Billy Gene Lewis, 85, of Steele, Mo., departed this life on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro at 5:45 p.m.

Billy Gene was born at Dell on Sept. 8, 1933. He was the first-born child of Cuthbert (Buss) Lewis and Mable Ester Simpson Lewis. Billy Gene had three brothers, Beacher Bert, Richard Allan and Robert Wayne. Robert Wayne died in infancy. The family was raised in the Lost Cane Community south of Manila. Billy Gene graduated from the Lost Cane School and attended high school in Manila. He graduated in three and one half years at Manila and joined the U.S. Navy on Jan. 1, 1952. He served four years in the Navy and his service tour included one year on the heavy cruiser, U.S.S. Bremerton, one year in Adak, Alaska, and two years in San Diego, Calif. Billy Gene was honorably discharged from the Navy on Jan. 1, 1956. He enrolled at Arkansas State College in 1956 and received a B.S. degree in 1958. He also earned a Masters in Business Administration from Arkansas State College and an advanced Masters Degree from the University of Mississippi.

Mr. Lewis was first a member of the Little River Missionary Baptist Church and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Steele for many years. He loved his church and taught the menís class for over forty years.

Billy Gene was married to Inez Whitney of the Blackwater community in December 1957. He was employed by the Steele Public Schools in 1959 where he spent the rest of his career. He spent his last 20 years before his retirement as superintendent of South Pemiscot Schools at Steele. Billy and Inez touched many lives in their service to the school and community where they lived. Inez died on Nov. 5, 2011, at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital, Hayti, Mo. Billy and Inez had one daughter, Jeanne Lewis, who married John Pasmore of Jonesboro in 1980. Jeanne died of a rare bone cancer in 2008. She was survived by her children, John Lewis Pasmore and Andrew Dallas and wife, Jamie Pasmore, all of Jonesboro, Mari Beth and husband, Cameron Durham of Pocahontas.

After the death of Inez, Billy Gene was fortunate to have married a lifelong friend and sweetheart, Marilyn Crews. They were married on Jan. 25, 2014, and remained married until his last breath. He left two stepchildren, Kim Crews of Jackson, Mo., and Kris Crews of Steeleville, Mo., and two step-granddaughters Erin and Allie Strayhorn of Jackson, Mo. He also left a close furry companion, Takita Belle.

Billy Lewis was a past member of the Steele Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and a director for Bank Star of the Bootheel for many years. He was also a member of the Pemiscot Port Authority and he organized and was president of the Bootheel Investment club for many years.

Final arrangements will be a memorial service at the First Baptist Church in Steele, Mo., on Sunday, July 14, at 2:30 p.m. with visitation from 1:00 until service time. Faith Funeral Service of Manila will be in charge of the service with Rev. Billy Skinner officiating. Interment will be private in Mt. Zion Cemetery by his grandsons.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers a memorial be made to the First Baptist Church in Steele.

Guest registry: www.faithfuneral service.net