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Former Florida Congressman Tom Lewis Dies at 78

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  • David
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2003
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      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
      Bowman, 54.

      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 &
      Whitney Aircraft.

      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
      announced.
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