William Oscar Lewis, affectionately known as Billy, 93, of Morton, MS, passed away on May 24, 2021. After several years of declining health, Billy died peacefully in his home. Billy was born to parents Jimmie Lee Lewis and Ollie Vaughn Lewis, on April 29, 1928 in Morton, MS. The family has entrusted Wolfe Funeral Services with the arrangements. Visitation was Wednesday May 26, 2021, from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM and Home going Service was May, 27, 2021, at 10:00 AM at Wolfe Funeral Services Chapel. A graveside service followed at Independence Methodist Church Cemetery. Pastor Sheila Cumbest and Rev. Gary Glazier officiated the ceremony.
The only son of his family, Billy didn’t have the opportunity for much formal education. He worked hard on his family farm and worked any odd jobs he could find starting at a very young age. He graduated from Morton High School in 1945. He was proud to have taken the Dale Carnegie Leadership Course, and eagerly collected a Lifetime of Self-Education for he was a reader and a hard-worker and owned his own electrical, poultry businesses and held a Certified Electrician’s License before he was 20 years old. Most of us would also say he graduated with honors at the end of his life, with a loving family’s PhD in Wisdom, Love, Support, Kindness and Goodness.
His work ethic and desire to take care of his family led to him having several great jobs throughout his career. He started off working as an Electrician at Southern Pine EPA, then as a Maintenance and Electrical Director at Pelahatchie Poultry and BC Rogers Poultry Plants. Throughout his life he worked after hours as a Private Contractor Electrician all while he had side businesses as a Cattle Farmer and Timber Farmer. In his last days, he often said, “I have worked hard all my life. Most times working 3 jobs so I could provide best for my family. I never wanted Betty Jo to have to work. I wanted her to have a good life and I feel good that I gave her that.” In addition to working 4 jobs, he was always available to take care of Maintenance and Air Conditioning/Heating for Morton United Methodist Church. After a successful career, he retired from BC Rogers in 2000, but continued working at his farm and helping out at the church anytime he was needed.
He enjoyed fishing, farming, working hard, playing cards, timber, wood-working (he made beautiful chairs and swings for his family), football, women’s collegiate softball, church bus trips, family beach trips, gardening and animals — most especially his beloved dog, Hobo. His Military Service was with the Army National Guard and he was in active duty in the Korean Conflict. Early in his career he installed one of the first electric range sets in South Mississippi, in fact, he installed hundreds of electrical ranges for customers receiving electricity for the first time. He trained many homemakers to go from wood burning stoves to electrical. In 2021, he was honored with a rare Master Mason Pin for 75 years of service. Billy has received awards and recognition for his lifetime of service to church and community, but his greatest lifetime service was to his family. Therefore, his family awards him with the Loving Grandfather Award, The Loving, Loyal Husband Award, The Family Provider Award and The Most Honorable Character and Good Name Award. Morton United Methodist Church members have recently commended his many years of service to the church.
Billy met beautiful Betty Jo Lindsey in 1946. He saw a pretty red-haired girl on the school bus and it was “love at first sight.” He knew he would marry her from that point on. They dated 5 years and married when she was 18 and he was 24. They were married on June 26th, 1951, with Clyde and Audrey Marler as witnesses, at Independence Methodist Church, in Morton, MS. Together they raised 2 children: William Mark Lewis and Melissa Lewis Lynch.
William is survived by his lovely wife Betty Jo Lindsey Lewis; one son William Mark Lewis (Lorin) of Madison, MS; daughter Melissa Lewis Lynch of Ridgeland; 4 grandchildren Lindy Lewis West (Griffin) of Hattiesburg, MS; Laura Lee Lewis Allen (Will) of Jackson, MS, Taylor Lynch Mitchell (Cole) of Gluckstadt, MS, and William Cole Lynch of Pass Christian; four great grandchildren, Vivian Elizabeth and Rosemary Lee, Summer Alyn and Mia Jaymes and a host of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by Sisters Laverne Renfrow, along with her children Gilbert and Deborah Ann Renfrow, Jimmie Ann Mashburn and Rachel Varner Tadlock, and beloved Mother-in-Law Zee Lindsey and Sisters-in-Law Kay Lindsey Carter, Ruth Lindsey Brooks and June Lindsey Claypool.
People wishing to honor Billy’s lifelong commitment to family, friends and community can make donations to Morton United Methodist Church.