Cover photo for Donald Evan Lewis's Obituary
Donald Evan Lewis Profile Photo
1934 Donald 2023

Donald Evan Lewis

September 25, 1934 — May 29, 2023

Donald (Don) E. Lewis, age 88, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, died peacefully in his sleep at home on May 29, 2023. He was at home in Hospice Care since May 20, 2023 with his wife, Jo Ann by his side.


Don was born in Oshkosh on September 25, 1934. His parents (who preceded him in death) were Barton Evan Lewis and Dorothy Marie Elizabeth Sprister Lewis. Don spent most of his youth in a neighborhood in Oshkosh near Babbitz Avenue, with his younger brother, Bobby Lewis. Don graduated from Oshkosh High School, Class of 1952. He then attended UW-Madison, the home of Bucky Badger, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, graduating Class of 1956. Don has not missed watching or listening to many of the Wisconsin Badger Team sports games since.


He met the love of his life on a formal dance date during high school. About 5 years later, he married Jo Ann (nee Weber) on June 23, 1956 at Peace Lutheran Church in Oshkosh, where they are still members and attend church nearly every Sunday.


Don worked as a reporter for the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern for ten years. He then moved his family to Milwaukee to begin his career with The Milwaukee Journal Newspaper in June, 1966. During his career with the Journal, he had a column in the Green Sheet, The Way It Is, which spanned many years. He reviewed (critiqued) everything from books to records to concerts, even including a visit to Nashville for interviews.


Along the way, he met many legendary performers and recording artists. Don then became a feature editor which involved everything except “the news”. He retired from The Journal when offered early retirement as the two Milwaukee papers merged in March, 1995. Don wrote his autobiography and published in October 2007, titled Sophia, Brigitte and Me.


There was a family passion for music, which lived in Don’s heart. His Lewis family was more than musically-tuned in, they had music in their blood. There was seldom a family gathering that music was not a part of. Don was no exception. From his younger years singing in a Barbershop Quartet to singing with church choirs, often solo work, and taking voice lessons. Eventually spending several years singing with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus and making trips to sing at Carnegie Hall. He also played piano and clarinet.


Don’s hobbies included playing Contract Bridge, tennis, oil painting, hunting (mostly deer) from age 14 to age 88, to all types of inland fishing. He had a passion for gardening from vegetables and flowers to trees and shrubs. Don was a devout Lutheran. He and Jo Ann made sure their children were in church every Sunday, sitting in the front row (mostly so they would not miss anything, but often so they would behave).


In 1967, Don and Jo Ann purchased a 40-acre parcel near Birnamwood, where they later retired in 1995. The two of them made many friends there and attended St. John’s Lutheran Church. They enjoyed traveling on Elderhostel Trips and made friends from faraway places. They returned to Oshkosh to live at Stoney Beach in 1998 and kept Birnamwood as “The Woods” a haven for their family. As they grew older, they ventured to Gulf Shores, Alabama for an annual retreat for the month of February and connected with old and new friends.

Don’s son, Evan G. Lewis preceded him in death on May 28, 2023.


Don is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jo Ann (nee Weber) Lewis, brother Bobby Lewis (friend, Trudy); daughter, Kathleen (Katie) Poole; sons: Alan (Kim) Lewis; and Todd (Frances) Lewis; James (Yevette) Lewis. Grandchildren: Sean (Lena) Bigonia; Eric (Katrina) Lewis; Elizabeth (Nick) Flitcroft; Elizabeth Lewis; Rachel Lewis; Quentin Lewis-Smith; Elizabeth Pfannerstil-Lewis; Joshua Lewis; Macy Lewis; Shelby Lewis; along with 6 great-grandchildren; niece, Laura (Dave) Riskus and adopted family, Jim & Vicky Ruddy.


A service will be held at Peace Lutheran Church on July 8, 2023 @ 10:45AM with visitation from 9:30AM-10:30AM. Family is requesting in lieu of flowers, Memorials may be donated to (Stained Glass Window Restoration @ Peace Lutheran Church, Oshkosh, WI).


“…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52

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Saturday, July 8, 2023

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Saturday, July 8, 2023

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