OBITUARY

Harold Eugene Lewis

July 7, 1933March 18, 2021

Harold Eugene Lewis, age 87, died peacefully on March 18, 2021.

Harold was born on July 7, 1933 in Dodge City, Kansas to Eugene Paul Lewis and Blanche (Rollins) Lewis. He graduated from Dodge City High School in 1951 and graduated from Dodge City Community College in 1953. He earned the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts degree in 1956 and a Master of Science in Trade and Technical Education degree in 1965 from Kansas State Teachers’ College at Pittsburg.

Harold began his teaching career at Stanley Rural High School from 1956-1960. He was designer and production supervisor for Adventure Line Mfg. Company in Parsons, KS from 1960-1963, and he was industrial arts teacher at Parsons Junior High School from 1963-1965. He was the industrial cooperative training teacher at Topeka High School from 1965-1968.

While teaching at Topeka High School, he organized a VICA club. He pioneered Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) in the state of Kansas. Kansas affiliated with National VICA as soon as Kansas was chartered in 1966. Eleven clubs, all cooperatives, launched Kansas VICA that year. Harold was named executive secretary of Kansas VICA in 1967 while still a teacher at Topeka High School and became the Kansas State VICA Director.

Harold was named to the National Staff of VICA in Falls Church, Virginia in 1974. Harold built what became The Skills USA Championships where students who were enrolled in high school and technical schools could compete for national and international recognition with their leadership and technical skills. Harold brought together industry volunteers whose companies donate equipment and materials and who serve as judges. The VICA Executive Director described Harold as being “instrumental in spurring this country’s participation in the International Skills Olympics.” VICA is recognized as the official U.S. representative in this event.

One of Harold’s closest friends and colleague for over 30 years watched him from a very close distance as he worked his way through life as husband, father, churchman, professional, in his friendships, and even in leisure, always as a Christian gentleman.

Harold married his childhood sweetheart, Fern Snowbarger, on June 8, 1953 in Dodge City, Kansas. They have five children: Carla Gleason (Dave) of Kansas City, Missouri; Annette Fields (Craig) of Springfield, Missouri; Eldon Lewis (Christi) of Olathe, Kansas; Monica Morgan (Robert) of Olathe, Kansas; and Bonita Simmons (Dick) of Leesburg, Virginia. The couple has fifteen grandchildren and twenty-three great-grandchildren. His family treasures the many handmade wooden pieces of furniture and other keepsakes. Throughout their life together, Harold served God as an active member of the Church of the Nazarene.

Harold is survived by his sister, Clara Mae Beadle; his brother, Jim Burr; and his brother, John Lewis. Visitation will be on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10 am and service at 11 am at New Hope Church of the Nazarene, 4330 North Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64116. Inurnment at Johnson County Memorial Gardens at 3 pm at 11200 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66210.

The 11 am Memorial Service will be livestreamed through the White Chapel Facebook Page and you are welcome to return to this page on the morning of the service to find that link.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, April 10, 2021

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, April 10, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Harold Eugene Lewis

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Joseph Haas

April 5, 2021

I met Harold a few times while I was participating in the international trials and contests for Industrial Electronics in the early 80's. While the meetings were brief, I am grateful for all the hard work he put into those contest activities. My memory isn't the greatest, but I believe that he visited Beijing with the same tour group we attended in 1985. We all got a chuckle out of the fact that our definition of "trade school" was a bit different than that of our guides as we were taken to a school for "international trade" for a visit. Not quite what we had in mind, but interesting nonetheless. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Bonita Simmons

April 2, 2021

The youngest of five I experienced life in a big family and as an only child. My Daddy loved me, encouraged me, disciplined me, and shared his love of music with me. Most importantly, he loved Jesus, and he loved our Mama. I will miss you, Daddy, and I promise to see you again in heaven one day.

Mary Maffett

April 2, 2021

Harold was a wonderful, kind person. I worked with him many years at the National Conference for VICA. He was a mentor for my friend Nick Fedirko. We shared many happy moments. One fond memory was when Harold and his family came to visit us in Dover, DE and attend a NASCAR race. He will be sadly missed. May Fern and family find peace in all those happy memories.

Dee Dee Smallwood

March 29, 2021

I recall 22 yrs ago meeting Harold an Fern ,at that time I knew them as grandpa pa and grandma ma ! (From the grandkids) This is such a loving family always,the love was and is so sincere, God bless the Lewis family my prayers are with you all !

Judy Garrison formerly Waechter

March 28, 2021

I started at SkillsUSA Formerly VICA in
1978 retired 2016 A very family caring atmosphere. One of my first staff meetings was Harold at the helm talking and showing slides of his International Olympics trip to Ireland and kissing the blarney stone. He always had a story. He always was kind, caring and very easy spoken. I wish God speed for family healing of a sweet man. Rest in peace Harold!

Aloha Post

March 27, 2021

My memory is regarding my parents, Uncle Harold, and Aunt Fern. My parents enjoyed every opportunity to spend time with Uncle Harold and Aunt Fern and especially when they would all get away to go on vacations in the RV. It was always such a treat when Daddy and Mommy were invited to vacation with them. We love our Uncle Harold and will miss him greatly! I know he's singing praises to our wonderful Heavenly Father and enjoying all that Heaven is!

Dennis Engbrecht

March 26, 2021

When I moved to Topeka, KS in 1972 as a young, single high school teacher and attended the Oakland Church of the Nazarene, Harold and Fern Lewis welcomed me into their spiritual family. I immediately gained a deep respect for this man as a husband, father, and deeply committed Christ follower. He leaves a rich imprint on the lives of his children, grandchildren, and future generation of friends. I am grateful for the exemplary role model Harold Lewis provided for those whose lives he touched.

Annette Fields

March 25, 2021

Daddy never really "gave me away". He loved me well. Throughout my 65 years I never doubted his love . He gave me a foundation of love that helped me to be able to love others well. Thank you Daddy!
Your loving daughter, Annette Ruth

Tim Lawrence

March 25, 2021

There are so many things that can be said about the passing of a legend – a true champion for students, teachers, schools and communities. We followed the footprints and the path of a great man and the memories we have as individuals and as an organization will last forever.

From the early days of VICA, he was a key part of the development of a culture that set the stage for the programs that would help the lives of students all across America. Hundreds of thousands of young lives were changed for the better because of the work that Harold did as director of the Skill Olympics. His work brought students and teachers together with the leaders of industry and workforce development. The SkillsUSA competitions today, and the huge number of business and industry supporters that SkillsUSA currently enjoys, have their foundation in the groundwork laid by Harold Lewis.

Harold was a person who made the most of relationships. When he connected to a business partner and convinced them to support the Skill Olympics, he was always first to tell them that their work would benefit the students and that it would make a difference for their industry and for the nation. And he believed these industry representatives should be more than partners – they would be his friends. You could see the twinkle in his eyes and a sly smile on his face every time he found a new partner and friend. Harold had an ability to immediately develop friendships and these friendships would last for decades. This process was passed along person to person and company to company to grow the competitions and to sustain the partnerships that still exist many years later.
Harold Lewis was a pioneer and a diplomat. We can now count the millions that have been impacted by his work. God Bless Fern and the family. Harold will be missed but always remembered.

Karen and Jay Beatty

March 25, 2021

Condolences to the entire Lewis Family

FROM THE FAMILY