Lewis’ passing huge loss for city

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Greenville has lost a fine statesman.

James Lewis, a member of the Greenville City Council for more than three decades, passed away Sunday.

Lewis was a deeply humble man, quiet and unassuming, who loved serving the Camellia City and the folks who call it home.

Email newsletter signup

In a 2011 interview with The Greenville Advocate, Lewis said he never intended to become a politician. The Butler County native was perfectly content to teach the theory of government to his students at Greenville High School.

Then he got fed up.

“There was a lot happening in the community that I didn’t understand and some things I didn’t like,” Lewis said. “At the time I had two little girls, and we had a couple of guys move in across the street from us that started selling drugs. My kids would be out in the yard playing and those guys would be out there across the street using profane language and even exposing themselves. On Sunday mornings we’d get up to go to Sunday school and there would be beer bottles all over the street. I got tired of it and decided I was going to run for office and see if I could do something about it.”

He did.

For more than three decades, Lewis labored to improve the quality of life for residents of District 4.

He worked tirelessly to secure grants that helped improve housing in his district, spearheaded an effort to have more than 500 feet of ditch in District 4 and was instrumental in getting air conditioning installed in Dunbar Recreation Center.

He also helped make things better for folks that didn’t live in his district. During Lewis’ tenure on the council, Greenville was able to attract a number of businesses to the area, including Hwashin America, Hyundai Steel (Hysco America), CorStone Industries, Ozark Materials and Super Walmart.

Lewis was everything a politician should be.

He was kind. He was honest. He was compassionate. He was wise. He was humble. He had a passion to serve.

Greenville is a better place because James Lewis got fed up with how things were and decided to do something about it.

We all owe him our thanks.

He will certainly be missed.