Roland Ray Lewis
September 28, 1952 – April 24, 2021
The community mourns the loss of Roland R. Lewis, who passed on April 24, 2021. If you knew Roland, you know he was always good for a joke, a helping hand, and that he lived a life of service to others. Roland was born in Yakima to parents Eleanor and Melvin Lewis in 1952. He spent his childhood motorcycling, water skiing, parasailing, and playing board games for hours on end. He grew up with and was the oldest brother to Ron Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Rodney Lewis. Roland attended Wilson Middle School and graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1971. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1972. After his time in the service, he received an Associates in Arts and Science from Yakima Valley Community College, a Bachelor’s in Business from Washington State University, where he also served as ASB president. Later in life, he received a Master’s in Education from Heritage University.
Like his father, Roland was a familiar face all over Yakima and well known for his friendly demeanor. He worked for the Yakima Housing Authority as he started his family. He then served for 21 years as a Police Officer for the Zillah Police Department. When he approached 50, he decided to go back to school for his Master’s to work as an elementary school substitute teacher for the Union Gap school district. In 2006 he opened Yard Sailors, the second-hand store on Nob Hill and 5th we’ve all come to know as a treasure trove. Throughout his life, he purchased homes that he rented. Each facet of his life was another way he shared his generosity and kindness alongside close friends like Dwayne Meacham. Whether that was through letting someone off with a warning, using his Donald Duck voice to read a book to Kindergartens, or giving away free Bibles and free dress pants to every man needing to look sharp, he believed in a strong sense of community. He treated everyone he met with dignity and always tried to make them smile.
While Roland impacted many young lives, he was also a father to Melissa, Chelsea, Joseph, Ice, Pi, and Nia. He married the love of his life, Parnthong Thayida Lewis, in 2013, and his children watched her spark new life in him. He embraced eight grandchildren and lived a life anyone would be proud of.
Roland’s family would like to thank the Doctors, Nurses, and staff at Memorial Hospital for their excellent care of Roland during his battle with COVID.
A private family memorial is planned; Roland will receive a military burial at Tahoma National Cemetery. Arrangements are by Keith and Keith Funeral Home; www.keithandkeith.com.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Roland Ray Lewis
May 5, 2021
Roland always had a smile and a kind word as he walked the halls of Union Gap. He always had his coffee cup too. When you asked him about his day, his reply was “Another great day at Union Gap”. My kids loved him and were happy when he substituted for me. They loved his stories and funny jokes. Union Gap is lucky to have had Mr. Lewis as part of our little family and he will be greatly missed.
May 5, 2021
Roland would try and attend after hour events at Union Gap School. I coordinated the family nights and would often see him attending and interacting with students. The kids loved him. He always had a smile on his face , kind of a carefree attitude. He will be missed.
May his memory be eternal.
May 5, 2021
Mr. Lewis was a treasure at Union Gap School! Always had a positive message and happy greeting for everyone he passed in our hallways. The kids loved him! Always cheered when they knew Mr. Lewis would be their sub for the day. I enjoyed getting to know Mr. Lewis over the last several years. I will miss seeing him in his bright Hawaiian shirts and coffee cup full of coffee. You are missed Mr. Lewis!
Deborah Bourne Allen
May 4, 2021
I spent 7th Grade with Roland — he shot rubber bands at me during class. He didn’t complain much, if at all, when Aunt El put me in his room and he had to sleep elsewhere for a couple months. He took my fish off the hook and cleaned it for me — that was impressive. He always was grinning about something. We called him Rollie. The Donald Duck voices-him and Ronnie-cracked me up. I wish we could have lived closer in other years, but it is great to have 7th grade and half of 3rd and a younger year or two to remember Halloweens and Christmases with our cousin Roland, his brothers, Aunt El and Uncle Mel. You have a special place in my heart. Love to all-Debbie
May 3, 2021
I didn’t know Roland but I knew his Mom and Dad. Especially Eleanore! Worked with her at the Capitol Theatre. Great people! So sorry for your loss🙏🙏🙏