Former Florida Congressman Tom Lewis Dies at 78
- Former Congressman Tom Lewis Dies at 78
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 2, 2003
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- Former Rep. Tom Lewis, who served
in two wars before his 12 years in Congress, died at a Palm Beach
hospital Saturday, his daughter said. He was 78.
Mickey Bowman, 54, Lewis' oldest daughter, declined to discuss the
cause of her father's death.
Lewis, a North Palm Beach Republican, served in the House from 1983
through 1994. He sat on the Science and Technology Committee and was
instrumental in saving the Hurricane Hunter Plane Program, which
sends planes out to gather hurricane data for meteorologists.
``It's one of the reasons why when Hurricane Andrew hit South
Florida, it wasn't as devastating as it could have been,'' said
Rep. Mark Foley, who represents Lewis' former district, remembered
him Saturday as one of Florida's ``finest public servants.''
``I looked up to Tom Lewis as a fine gentleman who possessed the
characteristics we should all strive for: decency, honesty and an
unselfish devotion to helping others,'' Foley said in a statement.
Lewis, born in Philadelphia Oct. 26, 1924, was a member of the U.S.
Air Force for 11 years and served tours of duty in World War II and
Korea. He later worked as a jet and rocket testing chief for Pratt &
Before being elected congressman, Lewis served as mayor and city
councilman in North Palm Beach from 1964-1971. He was a member of
the Florida House of Representatives from 1972-1980 and the Florida
Senate from 1980-1982.
The stretch of U.S. 27 that runs through Palm Beach County is named
for Lewis and his wife, Marian, also a former member of the Florida
House. The couple led a campaign that resulted in $66 million to
improve the road, a narrow, two-lane stretch where more than 100
people died from 1982 through 1997.
Lewis is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren
and one great-grandchild. Funeral arrangements were not immediately