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Tribute to Francis Kelvin Lewis

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On Monday, 23rd March 1934, a son was born to a charming, simple lady, Doris Ivy Lewis and an ambitious, God-fearing man Cyril Vicar Lewis. They called him Francis Kelvin. On Friday, November 5th, 2004, God called Francis home and the then patriarch of the Lewis family ended his earthly existence. {{more}}

Francis started from very humble beginnings, faced life’s many challenges head on and made all of us proud of the dignified man he became. Francis epitomised integrity. Through life’s journey, he never lost touch with his heritage and was able to relate to people from all walks of life. Francis was well respected by his peers, subordinates and superiors. This was evident when we visited with him at Kumlaby College. He was always fair and impartial. Francis’ presence seemed to light up even the darkest room.

Some of us here can recall Francis moving up and down the VG highway on foot, so swiftly, he was nicknamed WINGS.

In the autumn of 1963, Francis met Brigitta, an attractive young Swedish lady, who had recently immigrated to England. They fell in love and Francis’ life was never the same again. Francis the happy-go-lucky, young man was about to be transformed into a mature family-focused man. Gitta, we truly thank you for being the wind of support beneath his WINGS.

Francis, the first born, set high standards, so we his siblings had a tough act to follow. His formative education was in St. Vincent, where he was awarded a government scholarship to attend the St. Vincent Grammar School. Ironically enough, Francis was unable to recite the alphabet even at age 16. If ever he mastered the alphabet, we still do not know. Being an ambitious person, Francis felt the need to advance his education. To this end, in1956 he left his homeland on a ship bound for England. He did a stint with the Royal Air Force and also attained a B.Sc in physics.

From England, he moved to Sweden with his wife. After graduating from teachers’ college, Francis began his teaching career. He taught math, physics and English first at Kumlaby College, then Lekebergs College. He retired as head of the Physics Department at Lekebergs College, five years ago. His thirst for teaching (a family trait) was insatiable, since at the time of his death, he was actively teaching an English course at night school.

Francis was an avid golfer, and played in Sweden, London, Canada and Barbados. Tiger Woods took a page from Francis’ book and married a Swedish model.

Francis or Frank as he was affectionately called by Gitta, truly loved life and persevered through its many challenges. Realising that true enjoyment is a gift from God, he enjoyed with all his heart what our Sovereign God provided him. He shared his gifts and talents with us his siblings and also with others as some of you could attest. Francis loved, cared for and respected his wife , daughter, son-in-law and grandsons.

Love of nature and gardening is a Lewis family trait; the apples really never fall far from the tree. Francis’ gardening skills were extensive. His premises were beautifully landscaped with a variety of trees, shrubs and flowers. In the backyard he had a green house where he started most of his vegetables and flowers from seed. Later in the summer it was occupied with a variety of luscious vegetables. His property also had apple, pear and plum fruit trees. He was a bit of a neat freak-all hedges were immaculately trimmed, fruit trees nicely pruned, lawn in golf green shape and all borders neat and well defined.

Being very environmentally conscious, he never let anything in the garden go to waste – he had composting equipment. Whenever he visited us in Canada he would always help out in the garden and kept an eye out to see what ideas or new types of seed he could take back to Sweden to improve his own garden. He was a true man of the earth. Not surprisingly seed which he purchased in England were found in his belongings after his death.

His love of nature went with him every where. Some of us had the honour of going through the forests in Sweden with Gitta and Francis, picking blueberries, cranberries and mushrooms but watching out for the snakes. Just a few weeks ago, while visiting at the Liverpools’, Hermus reminded Francis that while he visited with him in Sweden, Francis and Gitta woke him up “at fore day morning” to go blueberry picking.

In his adolescence, Francis tended sheep, goats and cows and in Sweden he delighted in assisted his daughter Maria and her family tending their sheep and horses. How many of you would really believe that Maria’s property in Sweden is much like the property where Francis grew up as a boy in St:Vincent and the Grenadines. No wonder Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes 1: 9 declares “there is nothing new under the sun”

Francis, we thank you for staying in touch over all the years. We thank you for visiting us, even much more often than we visited you. Your recent and last visit to Canada just days before you returned to God our Redeemer is indelibly etched in our hearts. What a cherished memory! Your final moments on planet earth were spent in the presence of Arucha, your niece at your bedside. Arucha, in tears thanked you for spending your last moments of life at her workplace even though you were unable to make it to her home. What a privilege! Our Lord and Master chose to take you home only a few hours before you were scheduled to be with Betty, your sister on that fatal Friday. Francis, we thank you for guiding us, teaching us, loving us and giving so much of yourself.

Who could have imagined that the last memory of you for many of your brothers, sister, relatives and friends would be an informal gathering we had at Cyril’s driveway on that warm, sunny Sunday afternoon this October while you were about to be driven by Barry to the airport. This was not only our “Bon Voyage” wish for you, but our God knew this was our final earthly farewell to you.

Francis, may your soul sleep on in Christ Jesus . Oh God, our Lord and Saviour, we will continue to praise, worship and thank you.

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