Mary Lewis


Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Longtime Juneau resident Mary Lewis died Jan. 4, 2007, following a battle with a respiratory illness. She was 77.

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She was born in Latouche, Alaska, an island in Prince William Sound, to James A. and Elsie Sofoulis. Her father was a cook and baker for a mining community on the island. When she was about a year old, her father moved the family to Juneau, where he opened and operated the Star Bakery, located on South Franklin Street, where the downtown library now stands.

During World War II, the bakery was a gathering place for a number of the soldiers stationed in Juneau at the Sub Port and Duck Creek. Many dinners were shared with the military during this time. Growing up, she worked in the bakery after school and during the summers. She also worked at the Coliseum and 20th Century theaters as an usherette and cashier.

She graduated from Juneau High School in 1947, at which time she began a career with the federal government working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1958, she transferred to the U.S. Forestry Sciences Laboratory. She stayed with the lab until her retirement.

She married Lee Lewis in July 1953. They made their home in Juneau. During the latter part of their careers, they both worked for the federal government. They retired on the same day, June 3, 1986. They spent much of their time traveling and participating in the many organizations they belonged to.

She was president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, Post 5559, past president of the Department of Alaska; was active with AARP, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, Navy League of the United States and the Gastineau Channel Historical Society; belonged to the Eastern Star and Juneau Chapter No. 7; was a majority member of Juneau Assembly No. 3 and International Order of Rainbow for Girls; was a Grand Cross of Color holder; was secretary/treasurer of the Juneau Fourth of July Committee and treasurer of the Southeast Alaska Club, Alaska/Yukon Pioneers; was a member of the Elks Lodge 420 and Sons of Norway; held several offices with the Ladies of the Moose Chapter 439; and belonged to the Pioneers of Alaska Woman's Igloo No. 6, and was honored as their Queen Regent, 2004-05.

She enjoyed working with the Pioneer Book Committee in producing the booklet "Alaska Gold Rush Pioneers" and volumes I and II of "Gastineau Channel Memories." The Committee is currently working on Volume III.

In 2004, she co-chaired the Convention of the International Sourdough Reunion and the Grand Igloo Pioneers of Alaska. During the summer tourist season, she volunteered at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and with the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Cruise Ship Terminal.

Her family said she was a much-loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She will be missed.

She was preceded in death by her husband; and brother, James D. Sofoulis and his wife, Henrietta, of Douglas.

She is survived by her two sons, Robert Lewis, of Minneapolis, and David Lewis, of Juneau; two grandchildren, Jesie Ormsby and her husband, Marc, of Juneau, and Joshua Lewis, stationed in San Diego with the U.S. Navy; and several nieces and nephews in Juneau and the state of Washington.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Friday at the Moose Lodge in Juneau.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to one of her local organizations. The family can be contacted at P.O. Box 20011, Juneau, AK, 99802.

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