PORTSMOUTH — Long time and beloved radio personality and former reporter for the Daily Times Frank Lewis died Sept. 7, leaving a community reeling.
Husband, Father, voice of the people, and so many other things would help one know Lewis and the mark he made on the community for many years, and yet none of those words would be enough to say how beloved he was to so many people.
Lewis was best known as the manager and voice of the morning show on WPAY Radio until he joined the Daily Times team as a staff writer. Throughout his time at the newspaper, Lewis provided coverage of murders, community events, breaking news, and built a community relationship. During his time at the paper, Lewis could also be seen every morning at Tim Hortons having coffee with The Ohio Highway Patrol and Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini.
“He was very dedicated to the paper,” Joyce Lewis, Lewis’s wife said. “He would say it was the best job he ever had.”
Joyce shared the story of Lewis one day walking out of the radio station and going to the newspaper the next day. She said he said that he loved his job as a reporter at The Portsmouth Daily Times, where he stayed for 15 years before leaving in May 2017.
“I first met Frank when I began at the Daily Times in 2008,” Daily Times Publisher, Hope Comer said. “Through my journey to Publisher, he and I learned much from each other not only about the news industry but life in general. He will be sadly missed, but I know he is rejoicing in a better place.”
In true news fashion, once news broke of Lewis’s passing, many Portsmouth community members shared their condolences to the Lewis family and memories on social media.
“The Portsmouth Radio family has lost another legend,” Scioto EMA Director, Larry Mullins said. “I was sad to learn of the passing of Frank Lewis. He had a long-distinguished broadcast career and I had the honor of working with Frank at WPAY back in the 1980s. He was a mentor of mine and I learned a lot about the radio business from him. Later he went into the newspaper business and became one of the best reporters this town has ever seen.”
Community leaders also took to social media to share their thoughts on Lewis and the mark he left on the community.
“The Scioto County Commissioners offer their sympathy and prayers to the family of Frank Lewis. Frank reported on our meetings for several years and was an outstanding gentleman and public servant,” the commissioners wrote on their Facebook page.
“I’ve now lost two very good friends from my journalism days,” Main Street Portsmouth Director, Joseph Pratt said. “We sat across from each other for years, and, while we didn’t see eye to eye at first, I believe we both found each other in a place of respect and admiration after getting to know the other. And he was the only one who could beat my impulsive wedding elopement story. I’ve never met a man so imbued with respect and integrity; he will be missed.”
Joyce shared that Lewis was known as a lover and teacher of the word of God. In his final days, Lewis greatly missed his Bible studies with the folks at the Washington House. Joyce said that when COVID happened, Frank was no longer able to teach at the Washington House and he was always saying how much he missed the people he taught there.
“On the day that he passed away, he told me he was going downstairs to finish a lesson he had started on Ruth,” Joyce said. “He finished the lesson, came upstairs and hollered for me and passed away. The last thing he did was one more lesson.”
While Joyce will miss her husband, she is comforted by her two sons Tony, who lives in Worthington and Michael, who lives in Dublin, and the many stories Lewis had shared, including when he played Santa for the community.
“One of his favorite things he loved doing at WPAY was to play Santa Claus,” Joyce said. “He would read the children’s letters and he would even say, “Now you be good ‘Billy’ I’m watching you!”
Lewis’s service was held Thursday at Christ Sanctuary Church in Sciotoville, with Paster Terry Longmire officiating. Interment followed at Sunset Memorial Gardens, with military honors by the James Dickey Post 23 of the American Legion.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of the Minford squad and the other ambulance personnel who responded and the very kind and compassionate staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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