Tuesday, February 7, 2012

IT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE - William W. Lewis

Last fall, on a beautiful late-autumn day I left work early and went out to Jewish Waldheim Cemetery to fulfill some Find A Grave photo requests (good excuse!).  Part of the enjoyment of an old, historic cemetery is to just wander and take in all of the beauty, not only of the day and of the grounds, but also the beauty of the monuments and the works of art decorating the graves of departed loved ones.  In my wanderings I spotted a family mausoleum off by itself that said "Lewis".

As I peered through the glass in the front doors it was almost like looking at a photograph of a well-dressed, well-groomed young man of days gone by.


The image was of twenty-one year old William W. Lewis.  William was born August 1, 1901, and unfortunately died on October 20, 1922.  

I could not locate a death notice or obituary for William, but I was able to uncover a copy of his death certificate:

From the death certificate I found that William had been on this earth 21 years, 1 month and 29 days.  He was single, and was a shoe salesman at Mandel Brothers, a well-known (at that time) department store.  His father Sam Lewis and his mother Rose Pearlman Lewis were both born in Russia, but William was a born-and-bred American.  William died of lobar pneumonia, complicated by acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). 

Sam and Rose Lewis traveled a long way from Russia to Chicago to make a better life for themselves and their children.  I'm sure that like all parents they wanted all of their children, but especially William, their first-born to have a long and happy life and give them lots of grandchildren.  Unfortunately for William Lewis, dead at twenty-one, it was not meant to be.

The Lewis family mausoleum can be found at Gate 47 - B'nai Abraham Zion - at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park.  May William, and all of the Lewis family, rest in peace.

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