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Dudley Barksdale Lewis Jr., 78, died August 19, 2020, of Parkinson’s disease. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, at The Anderson’s Cozy Home in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Dudley was born July 6, 1942, in Brunswick County, Virginia, to Dudley Barksdale Lewis and Blanche Rawlings Daniel Lewis. He grew up the eldest of three, farming tobacco, and lettering in three sports at Brunswick High School. His parents placed a high value on education, and he became the first in his immediate family to attend college, graduating from The University of Virginia in 1965 with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree. During college, he played on the baseball team his first year and pledged the then-new chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
Working at the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C., after graduation, Dudley joined the College & Career group at Corkran Methodist Church in Temple Hills, MD, where he met his wife, Sharon Kaye Allender. They were married in 1966 in a double wedding along with Sharon’s twin sister Carol Lee Allender and her husband William Franklin Shutt. Dudley and Sharon moved to the Peninsula when he accepted a position at Newport News Shipbuilding. Dudley served in the Virginia Army National Guard on weekends and received his Master’s degree in Business Administration in 1971 from The College of William & Mary, through night school. After the Shipyard, Dudley worked for Malcom Pirnie and Siemens Automotive. He obtained his Professional Engineer license in 1971 and was a Certified Quality Engineer through the American Society for Quality Control. With his wife, Dudley made a home first in Hampton, where their two children were born, and then in Williamsburg.
Though the Tidewater and Williamsburg communities were never as tightly knit as his beloved Brunswick County, Dudley made friends wherever he went, exemplified the life of a good neighbor, and demonstrated a commitment to community service. He was defeated in his run for the Virginia House of Delegates in 1977, but served the Republican Party of Virginia in many roles, including as First District Committee Chair and as a member of the State Central Committee from 1980-1990. Over the years, Dudley served on the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Board for Hampton-Newport News, the Virginia Board of Behavioral Science, the Heritage Girl Scout Council, and the Board of the Wesley Foundation at William & Mary. He coached Little League Baseball and Basketball. He was a lifelong Methodist, most recently as a member of Williamsburg United Methodist Church. Dudley was a member and Past Master of Williamsburg Masonic Lodge No. 6. He was a member of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, the Khedive Temple A.A.O.N.M.S., and a Past President of the Williamsburg Shrine Club.
In his retirement, Dudley reveled in watching UVA sports and attending class and fraternity reunions. He and Sharon had a special fondness for trips to visit Hilton Head, South Carolina. Dudley was able to indulge his love of history and family through his genealogical research, writing, and local county courthouse trips. He was proud of the long tenure and the many branches of his family tree in Virginia, and became a member of the Jamestowne Society. He faced the challenges of Parkinson’s with dignity and grit, strapping on boxing gloves for workouts with the Rock Steady Boxing crew.
Dudley is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sharon; his daughter Rev. Deborah Ellen Lewis and her husband Roger Woodson Sherman and stepson Blair Philip Sherman of Charlottesville, VA; and his son David Brian Lewis and his wife Amy Lynn Koeppen Lewis of Sarasota, FL. He is also survived by his sister Patricia Ann Lewis of South Hill, VA; his brother Dale Daniel Lewis and his wife Kathryn Ann Lewis of Hopewell, VA; and his sister-in-law Carol Lee Shutt of Williamsburg, VA; in addition to many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Dudley was gregarious, generous, funny, fair-minded, compassionate, he loved children, and he was a hard worker. He considered it a blessing from God to be born a Virginian.
Dudley will be interred in a small family ceremony. A memorial service will be held at a future date. Memorial gifts may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research: michaeljfox.org/donate. Online condolences may be expressed at clarkeandstaples.com.
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