William J. “Bill” Lewis
Nov 20, 1949 – Jul 14, 2017
A devoted father, husband, friend and true lover of life, William J. “Bill” Lewis passed away on July 14, 2017 after a courageous battle with terminal illness. Bill was born on November 20, 1949, in Omaha to John and Patricia Lewis. He was a devoted brother to John Lewis Jr., Mary Walker, the late Trish Frazell, Susan Kurtenbach, the late Michael Lewis, and Thomas Lewis. He attended St. Pius X for grade school and graduated from Creighton Prep High School. Bill then attended Bellevue University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. During his college years Bill worked at The Haven House, a local retirement home, and also worked overnights at a warehouse. Bill often talked about his days of working at The Haven House, and how he enjoyed working with his friends and connecting with the patients.
Bill found his love for music during his teenage years. He loved attending concerts with friends and family including the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen, among several others throughout his life. His favorite of all time musician and group was The Boss and The E Street Band.
Bill began working for ENCOR, (Eastern Nebraska Human Services Agency, ENHSA), an advocacy and support organization for people with developmental disabilities, after he graduated from college. He was with the organization for 41 years, starting as a Resident Assistant and working up to become the Area Director at the South Omaha location. It was at the beginning of his career with ENCOR that he met and befriended David Menousek, a resident of the Beatrice State Developmental Center. Bill was a pillar in the movement to transition developmentally disabled individuals out of an institutionalized environment, and into community-based homes that provided vocational educational services and opportunities. Dave became the first ever developmentally disabled person to own a home in the state of Nebraska, and was also a strong advocate and leading example. He was a life-long friend and member of the Lewis family. He lived with Bill and Sue’s family for 22 years. Dave was the one who introduced Bill to the Chicago Cubs, and from then on he was a dedicated fan his entire life. It was a pastime Bill and Dave always enjoyed together, and he was elated to see them win the World Series in 2016!
Bill’s love and compassion for others was incredible and inspiring. He was a strong advocate and worked very hard to ensure all people were treated with dignity, respect and that opportunities were accessible to them. He would go out of his way to make sure people felt special, and he always had a song, joke or story to share when you needed it. Each Christmas ENCOR would identify a family within their organization that needed some extra help, and Bill would be the one to deliver the gifts. This was the highlight of his Christmas each year!
Bill was a devoted family man. He and his late wife, Sue, were married 21 years (together 29 years total). When he wasn’t working, playing golf or attending concerts, he was always with his family. He spent most of his life living in Omaha, which he loved. In 2012 Bill and Sue moved up to Leisure Lakes in North Bend, NE and it was his true sanctuary where enjoyed the scenery, calmness and time with his family. When his loving wife Sue passed away in the fall of 2015, he moved to Lincoln, NE to be closer to his daughters and grandchildren. He is survived by daughter Sarah, married to Nick Rasby (sons Cohen, age 4, and Bennet, age 1); his daughter Erin, engaged to Ty Prucha (baby boy due in November). He was preceded in death by his wife, Sue, son, Jesse Carty, and special friend, David Menousek.
Bill consistently exemplified and displayed his true passion and love for life! He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always able to find the joy and laughter in life. He told his family that every that single day he woke up, he tried to have a positive attitude. It was apparent when he would enter a room that everyone looked forward to seeing and talking with him. He never passed up an opportunity to make a friendly connection with a stranger, and said hello to everyone. He loved his family and friends deeply, and recently told his family he hoped he had made a lasting impression on the people he met and that were important to him. He loved music, golf, baseball, fishing, boating, reading the newspaper, and his work, amongst many other activities. He fought a courageous battle with terminal illness, and always kept a fighting spirit, positive outlook, and through the end never gave up!
The family will receive friends Thursday, July 20th from 5pm to 7pm, with VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm at the Bel Air Chapel, 12100 W. Center Rd. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Friday, July 21st at 10:30am at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 6905 Blondo. Family Interment, Woodland Cemetery in North Bend, NE. Memorials to ENCOR (south area).