Stephen William ‘Steve’ Lewis

A Celebration of Life will be held for Stephen William Lewis on Monday, May 31 at Worden Cornerstone Church, 294 East 900 Road, in rural Douglas County. Friends and neighbors are invited to join his family at 11:00 am for a service of remembrance, comfort, and celebration. Steve was a beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, co-worker, neighbor, and friend. He died Friday, May 21, 2021 at his home, of cancer. He was 72. He will be sorely missed.

Steve was born on January 20, 1949, in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the second of 10 children born to Robert O’Dell Lewis and Verla Jeanne Schneider Lewis. Steve grew up in Hinsdale, a suburb of Chicago, in a rambling Victorian house full of love, laughter, and lost socks. Steve attended St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School, Hinsdale Township High School, and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education in 1971. He married his high school sweetheart, Lorel June Rezek, on January 20, 1970, at Danforth Chapel on the KU campus. He called Lorel “the best birthday present I ever got.” She called him her “best friend.” “Their song” in high school was Happy Together. And after 51 years, they still were.

Steve taught junior and senior high school English and Language Arts for 7 years in Illinois and Kansas, then owned and operated his own business, Soots Me Chimneysweeping, for 10 years. In 1990 he hired on as a dispatcher for Douglas County and the following year was promoted to the rank of Deputy Sheriff. During his 25-year career with the Sheriff’s Office, he served as a Field Training Officer, firearms instructor, training sergeant, transport sergeant, and was a member of the County Jail Transition team, where he wrote job descriptions, policy, and procedures for the new county jail. He was then assigned to the corrections division. He supervised the kitchen and launched the inmate worker program. He moved to the training division and instituted in-house quarterly training for both the Operations and Corrections divisions. In 2008 he was assigned to special projects and served as the Public Information Officer. He also oversaw the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy, worked with the Citizen’s Academy Alumni Group, launched the Sheriff’s Facebook page, organized and initiated Project Lifesaver in Douglas County, developed the Drug Take Back program, promoted Smart 911, edited the Kansas Sheriff’s Association magazine, and represented the Sheriff’s Office in many state and local civic organizations. In 2013 he was reclassified to the rank of Lieutenant. When he retired in June of 2014 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

But Steve’s priority and joy was his family. He is survived by his wife, Lorel, and his daughters Molly (Jonathan) Glauner of Lawrence, Kansas, and Elizabeth (John) Rulifson of Shawnee, Kansas. He adored his grandchildren: Emma Rodgers, Lorel Rodgers, Kristina Rasmussen, Jack Rasmussen, Ray Rulifson, and Rose Rulifson. He also lovingly leaves behind his amazing brothers and sisters: Greg Lewis of Lawrence, Kansas; Jim Lewis (Nancy O’Connor) of Lawrence, Kansas; Connie Culbertson (Roy) of Belleville, Illinois; Nancy (Dan) Ward of Weaverville, North Carolina; David (Mona) Lewis of Livingston, Montana; Tim Lewis of Littleton, Colorado; Marsha (Jeff) Sebek of Chicago, Illinois; Andy (Juda) Lewis of Lawrence, Kansas; and Matt (Maggie Carpenter) Lewis of New Paltz, New York, as well as 20 beloved nieces and nephews. Steve loved, guided, and protected us all. As one neighbor wrote of him, “although my guardian angel is no longer with us in the flesh, I know he’ll still be watching over me. However, I will miss his side of the conversation when we talk.” Our sentiments exactly.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Family Promise of Lawrence, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.

We love you, Stephen William Lewis. God be with you ‘til we meet again.

 

Messages & Condolences

From Harry Morgan...

Steve was always ready to help in any way he could. He had a great sense of humor.

From Sue Snedeker Fredrickson...

To Lorel, Jim and the entire Lewis family, my deepest condolences. Your family was such an important part of my high school years, and I remember fondly being in your home surrounded by you all and Steve, and that incredible family love. Steve was such an integral part of that cohesiveness, and he will be remembered by all of us (and many more) so fondly. May you come to peace, knowing what a wonderful legacy you all have in a great Soul. Much love.

From Brad Clarke...

I knew Steve really well from St. Isaac Jogues He had a really light-hearted, good sense of humor and was a really good athlete. I liked the fact that he never seemed to take things too seriously and was quick witted. I think more than anything I remember Steve as being just a really nice guy. I still remember a couple of Halloweens when we raised a little hell together. He was a good guy….–

From Mary (Pennelle) Green...

Lorel and family, my deepest sympathies for your loss. I will always remember Steve as my favorite rock star, with his band ,” The Hard Times”
No one did a better Jaeger than Steve. God bless all the Lewis’ .

From Bill Orcutt...

It is very seldom that a person could have what is said to be a “Best Friend”. However in one family, I have TWO Best Friends.
When I first moved to Hinsdale, two folks took me on as a friend, and we spent our days and evenings learning to really live our lives. From our second year at HTHS-C we were together as close as ones could be. We did our weddings as best Friends, both Steve & Lorel were like family.
Through the years we have still been good buddies.
Steve, I love you as my Best Friend, now and forever!! Bill Orcutt

From Brenda Wahl...

Lorel, I am so sorry for your loss. Steve was such a magnificent person, humble and quiet in his service to the families at Family Promise, always with love and respect. We will miss him greatly. Our prayers are with you and your family.

From Linda Larsen Hirsch...

Dear Lorel: I am so sad to hear of Steve’s passing. Prayers of peace for you and your family.

From Cheryl Hougland...

Sending prayers to all! You all are amazing people ❤!

From Sarah Andyshak...

Hi Lorel, I was so sorry to hear about this. Lots of love, Sarah

From Dave & Heather Olson...

Dear Lewis Family,
Our thoughts are with you during this challenging time. Your family has always done so much for our community. Please reach out when we can be of help.

From Charles Branson and Family...

Steve was a fine gentleman and a great person. We are terribly sorry for your loss.

From Gayle Moyer Johnson...

Rick and I were so sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. He was such a nice person with a great smile sense of humor. I was lucky enough to have him as a teacher in Rossville and a fellow employee of Douglas County. Prayers to Lorel and family. RIP Mr. Lewis

From Stefanie Hoover...

I’m so sorry for your loss of Steve. I always think of him fondly.

From Amy Carrillo...

I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed Sgt. Lewis so much when I worked at the jail, we always talked about books & shared a lot of laughs. He will be missed.

From Julie Boyle...

I’m sorry for your loss. I enjoyed Steve’s sense of humor and sincerely appreciate his years of public service. May many happy memories comfort you.

From Anne Woods...

I am so sorry to hear this. Steve was a friend and coworker. I admired him and am grateful for his service to Douglas County. Hugs to his family.

From Derek & Brenda Welsh...

Steve was a fun guy to be around and could put a smile on anyone’s face.

From Rene DeBacker Bryant...

I remember Mr. Lewis when he was one of my favorite teachers at Rossville High. He always made me laugh and his classes were interesting. I was able to connect with him when he was still at the Sheriff’s Dept and he was just as comical as I remembered. RIP Mr. Lewis.

From Jan Levinson Ashmore...

Lorel,
I am heartbroken to hear of Steve’s passing. I am honored to have known and loved both of you since high school. I wish you love, peace and many happy memories.

From Bill Shepard...

Steve was one of those god sent people who made life a pleasure when around him. Just an honest, good person. RIP my friend.

From Philip Muller...

There are a few people you meet life who are genuine people and don’t pretend to be something they are not. Steve Lewis was one of those people. Rest in peace Mr. Lewis

From Kari and KC Wempe...

Lorel, Liz, Molly and your families- sending healing prayers to you all. Steve was a great dad, coworker (as we endured a year in a trailer on site of the new jail), his constant attention to detail and new facts made him who he was. But above all, his love for his family is and was a constant part of him.

With sincere sympathy, KC and Kari

From Michel’ Philipp Cole...

I will always be grateful for his humor and introduction to Monty Python. Hugs and love to all who are mourning his passing.

From Steve and Donna Hicks and family...

Lorel, Molly, Lizzie and family, our prayers continue for all of you, for comfort in your sorrow now. So many thoughts about Steve. Foremost that Steve was “a good man,” and that God’s mercy shelters us all, now and always. His Presence in BLESSING to you and all who mourn. In Jesus’ name.

From ken wertzberger...

Fine fellow. RIP
Ken Wertzberger

From Erica Ganson & Jo Dalquest families...

Sending our love and prayers to you during this difficult time.

From Nancee Beilgard...

I was so sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family, Lorel.

From Les and Sammie Conder...

We were so very sorry to hear about Steve’s death. He was such a nice man. We always enjoyed coming to your house to pick up eggs.

From John Lewis...

Condolences to the friends, family and co-workers. I had the pleasure of knowing Steve for many years and working with him. He is truly missed.

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