Rodney Neil Lewis
From the Nowata (OK) Star - August 3, 2011
for Rodney Neil Lewis of Lewisville, Texas, were conducted in the Lewisville
Interment followed on July 2, 2011 in the Memorial Cemetery in Nowata
He was born on April 25, 1923 in Clinton [Oklahoma] to John and Anna Lewis.
He died June 28, 2011. He moved to Nowata as a youngster. His father worked
on an oil company lease east of Nowata and his mom worked for several
years at Landers Grocery.
He attended high school and played basketball, and in the summer played
amateur ball in the Ben Johnson League, which won the national championship
in 1942. He married his wife of 64 years, Louise "Tommy" Skimmerhorn
He was approached by the Red Socks (Sox) but the war interrupted his dreams
of playing professional ball.
He was among the first to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. He
was a staff sergeant with a special task force called Dog Green in the
148th Engineers, whose assignment was to blow a gap in mines and obstructions
placed to stop the landing. They accomplished their task in 22 minutes,
as their fellow soldiers fell all around them. But he survived and fought
through the Battle of the Bulge and into Berlin, disarming mines, building
roads or on his belly in the mud or snow, resisting German counterattacks.
After the war, he resumed his quest to play professional baseball and
was hitting over 300 regularly when he was told he would be called up
to play for the Red Socks (Sox), but he developed a hamstring injury,
which would not heal.
He walked away from baseball and soon found out God had a more important
game for him.
He found himself fighting another war through the jungles of Brazil, where
he and his wife fought malaria, dysentery and every kind of jungle beast,
along with fear at entering villages to minister where a white man had
never been seen before.
Malaria forced them out of the jungle and into the small town of Boa Vista,
Roraima, Brazil. There and in the village of Tepequem, Roraima, Brazil,
they finished their 35 years in Brazil, with eight years in the jungle.
Before his death, he was honored in the Lewisvile newsaper and interviewed
by a Dallas radio station when he was a guest at the World Series (2010).
His hometown can be proud of Lewis who fought gallantly for his country
and his Savior.