Robert Eugene Lewis

Lewis, Robert Eugene

Robert Eugene Lewis was born on February 9, 1946, in Urbana, Illinois. He was the son of Jasper and Lottie (Miller) Lewis. Robert attended Urbana schools. He continued his formal education at the University of Illinois and later, at Parkland College, where he earned an Associates of Arts Degree.

While in elementary and high school, Robert was involved in the band as a percussionist. His love for music led him to volunteer as a mentor and teacher of young, aspiring drummers throughout the community. Robert's interests in science and technology, coupled with his love for music, has extended not only to his own children, but to the lives and careers of other young people. He is very active in the Salem Baptist Church where he has served as Youth Director, Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, and Percussionist. His Sunday School students call him "Mr. Feeny," after the teacher on the television program "Boy Meets World," who has high expectations for all of his students and a reputation for challenging and encouraging them to be the best they can be. Robert can always be counted on to lend a helping hand by creating scenery and special effects in support of church and school plays and activities.

His commitment to youth and education is evident in his service on school and community committees and organizations, including the Urbana School District 116 Equity Steering Committee, and Citizens Concerned with Quality Education (CCQE). His desire to give back to his community is also evident in his long-time service on the City of Urbana's Community Development Commission and his recent appointment to the City's Comprehensive Plan Update.

Robert has utilized his talents and interests in the arts and engineering to pursue several career areas, including architecture and product design and development. To family and friends, Robert is known as a "jack-of-all-trades," "Mr. Fix-It," and "Mr. Wizard." In general, he is someone who can make, build, or fix anything and everything. He is constantly looking for new projects to build or design and takes pleasure in working on a new painting or sculpture piece, knocking down a wall to remodel his home, and restoring or repairing cars.

His work led to the issuance of two U.S. patents in his name, one for a structural plastic seat design and the other for a low voltage lighting system. Robert looks forward to participating and sharing information about his engineering and design work through such activities as the annual local Black History Month program that highlights the work of Black scientists and inventors. Robert's design and engineering background has also enabled him to work with several area churches on facility expansion, remodeling, and new construction.

Despite being born with Factor IX Hemophilia, a disabling and life-threatening blood disorder, Robert has and continues to defy the predictions, astounding his doctors with his physical condition. He has been a guest lecturer to medical students from the University of Illinois/Carle Clinic about his experiences and treatment as a hemophiliac. He truly believes that his "victories" have come as a result of his faith in God and the prayers of many people in his life.

Robert is thankful for many individuals who have inspired, motivated and mentored him over the years. He is especially grateful to his mother and father for their spiritual guidance and for providing a strong family environment, to his uncle, Jeff Davis, for his father-like care and nurturing, to the Rev. W. H. Donaldson, his long-time pastor, for his spiritual guidance and encouragement, to Lorenzo Wylie, who encouraged him and gave him the opportunity to expand his mechanical aptitude, and to Robert Scaggs for sharing his knowledge as a structural engineer.

Married to the former Rosalind Johnson, Robert is the proud father of two children, Eric of Wilmington, DE and Nicole of Tallahassee, FL, who are fulfilling educational and professional goals that were encouraged and supported since their early childhood.