North Huntingdon engineer saw the world
Roger Lewis’ love of trains took him from Argentina to Pennsylvania and back again.
He was born in Buenos Aires and came to Wilmerding in 1960 as an engineer in training for Westinghouse Air Brake.
His career with Westinghouse would take him and his family back to Argentina for two years, then eventually to South Africa for another two-year stint.
“It was fantastic,” said his wife, Phyllis Lewis. “It was an opportunity that I was so glad that we had.”
Working with trains was a passion as well as a profession for Mr. Lewis.
“His hobby was railroads; he was a railroad man,” his wife said.
Roger Lewis of North Huntingdon died Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. He was 81.
He was the son of the late Arturo and Evelyn (Duffill) Lewis. The Lewis family was descended from British missionaries who came to Argentina in the 1880s and were among the first European settlers in the country’s Patagonia region.
When Mr. Lewis was training in Wilmerding, his future wife worked as a secretary at Westinghouse. They’d see each other at work, at church and at the local diner. Then they met at the bank and struck up a conversation.
“By the end of the walk from the bank back to the shop, we had a date,” she said.
They struck up a friendship that would turn into a lifelong relationship.
“First you have to be friends, and then it goes from there, and we were great friends,” Mrs. Lewis said.
Mr. Lewis was an avid reader with a formidable memory.
“If he didn’t have a photographic memory, it was close,” said his son, David Lewis.
Though he retired from Westinghouse in 1998, Mr. Lewis never really stopped working. He consulted for other companies, wrote articles about railway equipment and history, and kept up on the latest developments in the industry.
“He was always on internet message boards about train activities,” his son said.
Mr. Lewis’ happiest moments were spent with family.
“He was utterly devoted to his grandkids,” David Lewis said.
He was a member of the Irwin Lions Club, volunteered in Boy Scout leadership and hosted foreign students through the American Field Service student exchange program.
Mr. Lewis is survived by his wife, Phyllis (Bolton) Lewis; sons Kevin (Diane) Lewis of Finleyville and David (Renee) Lewis, of Freehold, N.J.; and five grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in Alfieri Funeral Home, 201 Marguerite Ave., Wilmerding, PA 15148.
A Lions service will be held at 6 p.m., followed by panachida at 7. Divine Liturgy will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday in Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church in Wall. Because of road construction, please enter Wall via Route 48. Mr. Lewis will be laid to rest in Monongahela Cemetery, Braddock.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .