Leo Everett Lewis Jr. 80, of Columbia, MO died August 30, 2013.
The celebration of Life for Leo Lewis Jr. has been scheduled for September 9, 2013 at 1:00pm in the sanctuary of Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway, Columbia, MO 65203. Visitation is Sunday, September 8 from 5-7pm at Millard Family Funeral Home, 12 East Ash Street.
Leo Everett Lewis Jr., was born February 4, 1933 in Des Moines, IA to Leo and Irene Lewis. The family moved to St. Paul, MN when Leo was an infant and where his ten siblings were born.
Leo graduated from Marshall High School in St. Paul where he was an All-City student athlete in football, basketball and track. He was convinced to go to college by his mother despite the death of his father during his senior year. He was recruited by the legendary coach Dwight Reed to Lincoln University where he was a three-year All-American football player. Lincoln was undefeated two of his four years and national black college champions in 1952. He was finally named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Lincoln University Hall of fame in 2008 for his outstanding college career. Along with serving in the ROTC, he graduated from Lincoln with a Bachelors of Science degree.
Named the “Lincoln Locomotive,” Leo played 11 years as a professional football player in the Canadian Football League. Although drafted in the sixth round by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts in 1955, he decided to instead play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Leo and Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant were teammates in Winnipeg. Grant would later coach the Blue Bombers before he would become the famed coach for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. According to Grant, Leo was one of the greatest players he ever coached.
Leo would be named League All-Star six times and later named to the CFL Hall of Fame in 1973 and the All-Time All-CFL team. He helped the Blue Bombers go to the League’s championship game six times and win its Grey Cup, four times. Additional accolades he received during his career in Winnipeg include being elected to the Manitoba and Blue Bombers Hall of Fame and honorary citizen of Winnipeg.
After retiring from professional football, he spent over thirty-two years coaching and teaching. While earning his Masters of Science Degree from the University of Missouri, he was a football coach and instructor at Hickman High School and worked for the State of Missouri in its Department of Agriculture.
He would return back to Lincoln as their Assistant Football Coach and Head Coach for football, golf and women’s basketball. He would also serve as a professor in the physical education department as well as Interim Athletic Director.
He was affiliated with several organizations including lifetime membership in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, 33rd degree membership in the Masons, the Golden K Kiwanis and Lincoln University Alumni Association. He was a dedicated member of Fifth Street Christian Church, serving as Elder, Trustee and board chair.
Mr. Lewis is survived by his wife of thirteen years, Betty Sanders Lewis for which he had a long and loving relationship. He is survived by sons, Leo (Benita) Lewis III of Minneapolis, MN, Marc (Allison) Lewis of St. Joseph, MO, Barry (Kathy) Lewis of Columbia, Victor Sanders of Columbia, and Robert Sanders of the Virgin Islands. He is survived by grandchildren, Ashley Lewis of Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Lauren Lewis of Pittsburgh, PA, Lindsay Lewis of Minneapolis, Jaden Lewis of Columbia, Deatre Sanders of Columbia, Zjaerig Sanders of Columbia, Denaisha Sanders and Andrea Palmer of Houston TX. He is survived by five brothers and four sisters; Evelyn (Charles) Propps, of Vadnais, MN; Elmer Lewis, of Altadena, CA; Raymond Lewis, of Detroit, MI; Gladys Walker and Pat (Sylvester) Eaves, of St. Paul, MN; Oliver (Jewel) Lewis, of Atlanta, GA; Robert (Ella) Lewis and Carolyn Smaller, of St. Paul, MN; Kenneth (Carol) Lewis, of Las Vegas, NV. He is remembered and survived by many significant family members including nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife Doris Marie Henson Lewis, and his sister Gloria Jones.
Interment is at Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Fifth Street Christian Church or Lincoln University. Arrangements are under the direction of MILLARD FAMILY Funeral Home, 12 East Ash Street; Columbia, MO 65203. (573) 442-7112. Condolences may be left for the family online at www.millardfamilychapels.com