Lemuel Arthur Lewie, Jr., was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1919 to Dr. Lemuel A. Lewie, Sr. and Mrs. Ophelia McDaniel Lewie. His father graduated from Howard University Dental School in 1907. His father was the first black dentist to have an office on Main Street. He was raised with his two sisters: Vivian Lewie Williams (deceased) and R. Marguerite Lewie, MD.
Lewie was educated in the public schools of Columbia, South Carolina, graduating from the historic Booker T. Washington High School. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Allen University in 1941 and earned his Master of Science Degree in Biology from Atlanta University in 1948, after returning from active military service.
Lemuel Arthur Lewie, Jr. (Courtesy Photo)
Lemuel A. Lewie, Jr. served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force with the 477th Bomber Group. He was drafted into the military service at Fort Jackson, S.C. in 1942. While waiting to go to Tuskegee for pilot training, Lewie was sent to Atlanta University for training at the Adjutant General’s Administrative School in 1943. During his term of active duty, he trained in administration, chemical warfare, radio communications, aerial gunnery, bombardment, and aviation. In 1944, Lieutenant Lewie was sent to Tuskegee Army Air Force Base where he received pilot training with Piper Cubs. In 1945, he was sent to Midland Army Air Field, Texas where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He was then assigned to the 477th Bomber Group at Godman Army Air Field, Kentucky. Lieutenant Lewie was reassigned on special orders to Tuskegee for pilot training where he received basic training classes in AT 6 planes and advanced training in flying B25J planes. During this period, he was trained at Tuskegee’s Moton Field to fly the PT-13 aircraft. Reflecting back to his training at Tuskegee, Lewie remembers his most memorable experiences include being the first student officer in his class to fly solo, his spectacular night flying, being trained by excellent officers, and serving as payroll master for the Corp of Engineers with a biweekly payroll of $25,000.
After his active military duty, he married Reva Goodwin in 1948 and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. In 1949, Lewie became an auto mechanic instructor at the Baltimore Veterans’ Trade School. Then he began a career in the Baltimore Public School System, assigned to Carver Vocational Technical High School, teaching science, mathematics, and textile design. He became involved in many school extracurricular activities. He is a Lifetime member of the Carver Alumni Association, due to his many contributions to the organization. During his 28 years as an educator, he was affiliated with: the PSTA, Maryland State Teachers Association, National Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, Biology Teachers Association, Baltimore Teachers Union, and the Maryland Academy of Science during his teaching career.
Lewie has been active in many civic groups such as: Board of Directors of Beautiful Baltimore, 32nd Degree Masons Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, For-Win-Ash Garden Club, Ripple Wood Community Association, the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Epworth United Methodist Chapel, and Advisory Board member of Region IV of the Federated Garden Clubs. Lewie enjoyed traveling, hunting, fishing, gardening, and collecting bolos and pipes.
Tuskegee Airman Lewie was initiated into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, Lambda Sigma Chapter at Atlanta University, and has been a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma for seventy years. Lewie has been honored by Phi Beta Sigma, the Tuskegee Alumni Association, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Maryland Governor O’Malley, Genesis PowerBack Rehabilitation Center, Lutherville, MD, President Barack Obama, Secretary of the Army, United States Congress, Morgan State University, Allen University, NASA, Goddard, and Epworth United Methodist Chapel. The original Tuskegee airmen have been honored with Congressional Gold Medals, served as consultants, visited schools, and made presentations to organizations, sharing their history and experiences. In his retirement, Lewie was busy with his greenhouse and traveling the world. Love for his wife of 70 years, Reva Goodwin Lewie, his sister, Dr. Marguerite Lewie, daughter, Rev. Dr. Marcia Lewie Thompson, son-in-law, Troy Thompson, Jr., grandchildren: Agent Candice Thompson, entrepreneur Troy Thompson, III, CPT Christel Thompson, and great grandson Ali Troy Thompson, were highlights of his golden years. Lewie was also surrounded by loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.