Lewis Eugene Knowles passed away on October 19, 2019, in New Port Richey, Florida. He was 88 years old. Lewis was born on May 7, 1931, in Wilmington, Delaware. A veteran of the US Navy, he served during the Korean War, stationed in Japan. Upon discharge from the Navy, he worked with his uncle as an aircraft mechanic at Derion Aviation in Erie, Pennsylvania, which preceded a long, rewarding career in aviation: at Flight Inc. at Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida; and as an aircraft technician in research and development at UTC in East Hartford, Connecticut. Even after his retirement in New Port Richey in 1990, Lewis was always tinkering, restoring his beloved Chevrolet Corvair, filling shelves with model airplanes, and more. There was rarely a problem that Lew couldnâ€™t solve with something in his red tool chest.
He met his wife, Natalie, on a blind date in August 1954, and to this day, holds the unofficial family title for best proposal ever: while piloting a plane over Lake Erie on New Yearâ€™s Eve. The couple was married on April 17, 1955; they welcomed their first daughter, Kathy, on June 18, 1958, followed by Laurie on August 19, 1959. They were married for 64 years. From Florida to Connecticut â€“ Dunedin, Cora Street, and beyond â€“ Lew and Nat built warm, loving, and welcoming homes wherever they settled.
Lewis is survived by his wife, Natalie; his daughters, Kathy Knowles and Laurie Cassell (Harvey); his granddaughters, Amy Cassell (Steven Palmer) and Megan Hill (Devon); and his great grandchildren, Braden Hill and Eleanor Palmer. He was a proud husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather â€“ strong, stoic, warm, loving. We will miss his presence, his smile, his hugs. We will miss everything about him.
A memorial will be held at Dobies Funeral Home in New Port Richey on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, followed by a private reception for immediate family. In lieu of flowers, Lewisâ€™ family asks that donations be made in his name to Gulfside Center for Hospice Care at Heather Hill (6630 Kentucky Avenue, New Port Richey, FL, 34653).