Albert Lewis

Al Lewis, 78, of Storm Lake died Feb. 22, 2018 in Arizona. 

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, May 11, 2018 at 3 p.m. at United Methodist Church in Storm Lake. The Celebration will continue at Lake Creek Country Club immediately following where food and drinks will be served. Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake is in charge of the arrangements. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: The Dr. Al Lewis Endowment and/or Endowed Scholarship at Buena Vista University; The Lewis Family will match dollar for dollar all donations up to a total of $15,000. Dr. Al Lewis Endowment, BVU, 610 W. 4th St., Storm Lake, IA 50588.

Albert Lester “Butch” Lewis was born Aug. 13, 1939 in Burlington, Kan. to Dolores (Jenkins) and Albert Lewis.  Spending his youth in many Kansas towns, but always returning to Burlington for his summers to play baseball, Al graduated as a four-sport letterman at Sabetha High School, (Kansas) in 1957.  He attended Ottawa University in Kansas lettering in three sports: football, basketball and track. He threw the javelin and held the record at OU for many years, graduating in 1961.

He began his teaching and coaching career in Plains, Kan., leading two undefeated football seasons. He attended Oklahoma State University, earning a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in education.

Al met his sweetheart, Dee Dunham, at OU and they married in Chanute, Kan. on Aug. 13, 1961. Together they were blessed with two sons, Brad and Blake. 

Al and Dee moved to Storm Lake with their family when he joined the staff of Buena Vista College, leading the new Siebens Health, Physical Education and Recreation department and serving as the defensive coordinator for Buena Vista’s football team. The Beavers enjoyed many conference championships, as well as the Boot Hill Bowl victory in 1975.

Over his tenure at Buena Vista, Al served as head men’s and women’s track coach and director of the intramural programs. And in 1984, he was named Iowa Conference Coach of the Year.

He spent many years active on the campus of Buena Vista College and served on the Governor’s Council for the State of Iowa’s physical fitness and sports. Al was named Outstanding Educator of the Year in 1972, earning the award again eleven years later, and upon his retirement, received Professor Emeritus and an honorary doctorate from Buena Vista University.

His career was unfortunately cut short in 1985 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Al retired in January 1989, but remained active physically for many years, crediting his resilience to working out and staying fit. In his years fighting MS, Al was an inspiration to his family, the university community and his many friends. His sharp sense of humor never waned.

Dee and Al spent many days traveling, spending the summers in Storm Lake and winters in Arizona. Al was a member of United Methodist Church. In 2003, Dee retired and they enjoyed the freedom to travel.  They frequently visited and traveled with their sons, exploring the United States and many other countries. Most recently they traveled to Oregon to witness the solar eclipse.

Wonderful memories were made throughout his life. The best memories never leave, they’re just packed away with the rest of life’s treasures.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife, Dee of Storm Lake; sons Brad (Luis Leon), Blake (Dean Christopher) of Las Vegas; sister Judy Brewer of Topeka; brother-in-law Ron Dunham (Diane Lewis) of Mesa; mother-in-law Etta Fleming of Mesa; nephews, Tod Brewer (Michelle) and Chris Brewer (Stephanie) of Topeka; niece, Debra Dee Woofter (Tucker) of Gardner; great-nephew, great-nieces, great-great nephews and great-great niece and many friends.

Al was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law Robert Brewer; and fathers-in-law, Ed Fleming and Lee Dunham.