Harley Glen Lewis, 97, Army veteran who endured the Battle of the Bulge

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Harley Glen Lewis
Harley Glen Lewis

Harley Glen Lewis, 97, of Williamsburg, passed away on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Mr. Lewis, formerly of Naples, Fla., and Mentor, Ohio, was born March 3, 1919, to John and Kathryn Lewis in Greenville, Ohio.

Mr. Lewis grew up on the family farm in Greenville until, at age 23, he was called to the U.S. Army in 1942 and had his initial training at Fort Riley, Kansas, as a cavalry horse-soldier. As World War II progressed and the Army moved away from horses and into armored vehicles, Harley transferred to the 9th Armored Division. Corporal Lewis was a member of the Division headquarters company on the commander’s staff. It was during this time that he met and married Jean, the love of his live. After training in Kansas and Louisiana, the 9th Armored became a part of Patton’s 3rd Army and was sent to England in Operation Fortitude — the deception forces gathering to mislead the enemy about the location site of the invasion of Europe. The 9th Armored followed the path of the Allied troops ashore at Normandy and across France to Luxembourg. It was there, in December 1944, that Harley and his comrades endured the Battle of the Bulge, and division elements captured the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, Germany. When the war ended, Harley returned to civilian life in Ohio as a proud American veteran.

Relocating to the Cleveland area, Harley and Jean settled in Mentor, where he built the family home himself. Together they raised a son and two daughters and were active members of the congregation of North Mentor Centenary United Methodist Church. While spending a career in the steel mills of Cleveland, Harley also devoted his spare time to helping neighbors and was a well respected handyman.

After his children were grown, Harley and Jean retired to Naples, Fla., where a new community of neighbors were blessed with their friendship. Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease took Jean from him in 2004. Harley lived on in Naples, supporting the local Alzheimer’s Association, helping his neighbors and enjoying the sunshine, until moving to Williamsburg in 2014 to be closer to his family.

For more than 97 years, he had been a solid citizen of his country. From his family’s farm in Greenville, Ohio, to the frozen fields and forests of World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, to the steel mills of Cleveland, to his garden plot behind the house that he built with his own hands in Mentor, he gave much to realize the American Dream. He will be sorely missed by family and friends.

Mr. Lewis was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Eckstein Quigley; grandson, Tyrel Thatcher Lewis; sisters, Dorothy Kunkle and Phyllis Mergler; and brother, John. A loving family man, he leaves with us his daughters, Susanne Elsass (Robert) of Williamsburg and Cindy Furhman (Ray) of Mentor; and son, Dale Lewis (Debi) of Painesville. Additionally, Mr. Lewis leaves six grandchildren, Tracy Hofmeyer (John), Laurie Thacker (Brian), Tiffany Hughes (Jason), Brittany Furhman, Garrett Furhman and Mallory Lewis; six great-grandchildren, Julianna, Emma and Robert Thacker, Colin and Teagan Hughes and Madelyn Hofmeyer; and a host of nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life for Mr. Lewis will be held at a later date in Mentor, Ohio.

The family requests memorial donations be made to Mr. Lewis’ favorite charity, the Alzheimer’s Support Network Inc., 660 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 21, Naples, FL 34102.