Fredric James Lewis was born January 26, 1946, to Edward Arthur Lewis and Rosemary Carr Lewis in New York City, the only boy among five siblings (sisters Stephanie, Abigail, Diana, and Felicity). He grew up in New Rochelle, NY, and attended Regis High School in NYC. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, with a degree in Math and German. He spent his junior year studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, where he met Cynthia Ann Read (later Cynthia Alice Berry), whom he married shortly after graduation.

When asked, at the age of five, what he wanted to be when he grew up, he responded emphatically “a daddy.” He achieved this wish and became the father of a daughter, Emily Katherine, in July 1969, while astronauts were strolling on the moon. Between 1969 and 1972, Fred was stationed in Munich, Germany, serving with U.S. Army intelligence as a case officer covering the Eastern Bloc.

After completing his military service Fred returned to New York and earned his JD at Columbia Law School. Two years at a Wall Street law firm convinced Fred that a move west of the Hudson River would make good sense, so the family headed to Denver in the fall of 1974, and son Christopher Guy joined the family in May 1975. Fred spent the rest of his law career as a partner handling real estate and transactional work in three separate law firms (Holme Roberts & Owen; Senn Lewis; and Sweetbaum Sands Anderson), and retired with much celebrating in 2014.

He contributed often and generously to many charitable organizations and was an active member of nonprofit boards in Denver, including Family HomeStead, Early College of Arvada, Shadow Theatre Company, and Germinal Stage Denver (GSD). He starred in and co-wrote Rip!, a musical version of “Rip van Winkle.” A favorite character actor and leading man of the Denver theatre community, Fred exuded enthusiastic and dedicated stage presence in plays ranging from absurdist to classical. His most charming and memorable role was Frank, the English bookseller in Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road at GSD.

Through the theatre Fred met and fell in love with his second wife, actor and author Jennie MacDonald. They married in 2008. Together they traveled extensively, fortunate to explore the vastness of this planet and set foot in extraordinary places: Japan, Thailand, Italy, Panama, Puerto Rico, Peru (trekking to Machu Picchu), Guatemala, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Chile, Argentina, Brazil (to Fred’s beloved Iguazu Falls), Russia, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Austria (revisiting Fred’s college year abroad through International Education Services in Vienna), Portugal, Spain, France, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Namibia, Egypt, and driving odysseys to the east and west coasts of the United States.

Fred enjoyed skiing and snowshoeing, rock climbing (at the gym), racketball, hiking, and playing pool. He loved the outdoors, traveling, exploring new places, meeting new people, and debating ideas. He was a master of words and strategy, always ready to challenge the unsuspecting to Scrabble, Boggle, 5-4-3-2-1 with sugar packets, poker, and even thumb wars. He relished the daily crossword puzzle, especially as a team effort.

Fred will be remembered for his propensity to break into song or spin a pun at the slightest provocation. A connoisseur of music, he knew every word to the catalogues of Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, and Joan Baez. He loved dancing. A good John Le Carré or John Irving novel was always a safe bet for a Christmas gift, as was any sort of crazy tie (before he happily donated them upon retirement).

Fred always believed in anything anyone wanted to do; that’s what made him a good partner, friend, family member, colleague, advocate in law and social programs for the arts, for the economically disadvantaged, and for the natural world. He was devoted to the dogs that came into his life with Jennie: Jake, Luna, and Merry. Many will remember his rapid-fire sense of humor, deployment of the family whistle, and crackerjack ability to put on all types of voices and accents. That warm and ready smile. He was a gentleman to all and immune to ego and vanity. He loved to teach everybody how to play pool, baseball, and golf, how to ski and climb, and especially how to be enthusiastic in the world. Perhaps few witnessed the tears of wonder he shed upon seeing the great wildebeest migration in Tanzania, his love for the opera, and his willingness to drive for hours to stand in the cold to view a supermoon or meteor shower—those were all Fred, too.

Fred is survived by his wife, Jennie; his daughter, Emily; his son, Christopher and daughter-in-law, Carla; two grandchildren, Sofia and James; three sisters, Stephanie, Abigail, and Felicity, and their spouses; numerous nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and -nephews; and many cherished friends. He was preceded in death by his sister Diana. He is deeply loved and will be forever missed.

The family suggest donations in Fred’s honor to any Colorado organization working for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas. Please have acknowledgments sent to Jennie or Christopher. Memories shared on the Guest Book on this page will be treasured.

8 thoughts on “Fredric James Lewis”

  1. We have great memories of Fred on Detroit Street, especially the block parties. Hugs to your family!

  2. I was Fred’s classmate at Holy Cross where we always were in awe of those “Regis boys”.
    He was smart as a whip and he radiated enthusiasm.
    The obituary was classic and hard to supplement.
    You felt that Fred was its author standing outside of his large presence.
    He was remembered fondly and often at our class’ 55th Reunion this June.
    His great pals, Sandy Curlett and Jack Schreiber, who are pictured with Fred at the bottom of the obituary’s picture array, treasured our classmate and friend.
    We are all better from having known Fred!
    Safe passage!

    Jay McLaughlin Holy Cross ’67

  3. Saturday, October 15th, 2022

    Dear Fred,

    I am writing my very fond memories of you since I am so sorry that the last time I got to see you was at our College of the Holy Cross 50th Class Reunion in Worcester, MA in 2017. The faculty at our college was primarily Jesuit (Raymond J. Swords, S.J. was the President when we arrived in 1963-1964) with some laymen, literally (there were no female faculty in our time at the College).
    If memory serves, I believe that we also spent time together at the previous Class Reunion in 2012 when you still working as an attorney. It was at that previous reunion that you told me about the Men’s Group which you found to be so rewarding for you in your life. You and I shared the common experience of being the only son among sisters (you had 4, and I had 2). I feel that male
    bonding (as a form of having a brother) was especially precious for you.

    In 2017 I had the pleasure of sitting at the same dinner table with you and your lovely (and devoted) second wife, Jennie MacDonald. “Mac” and “Mc” are respectively Scottish and Irish Gaelic for
    “son of.” I believe that MacDonald is Jennie’s maiden name. If so, we share a Celtic bond which attests to the fact that despite your love of things German, you had the good sense to find yourself
    quite discriminating in selecting a Celt for your wife and a Celt for a friend whom you first met in Kindergarten at Holy Family Parochial School in New Rochelle, New York (Westchester County).
    I am of course referring immodestly to myself here!

    We spent nine years total blessed by the kind and respectful teaching of the Dominican Nuns who were attached to Holy Family Church. We were in a co-educational setting which stood us both
    in good stead since we were deprived of fellow female students in high school (you at Regis High School at 55 East 84th Street in Manhattan & me at the Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York). This unfortunate trend (which no doubt was designed to keep us away from “occasions of sin” and “the temptations of the flesh” as early adolescent boys and late adolescent youngsters) continued for you when you attended Holy Cross College for four years and I attended Holy Cross for only my Freshman and Sophomore years. One benefit of “no girls in
    the classroom” for all of those years was that our undivided attention was directed at our studies. You had the good sense to escape from Worcester, MA for your Junior Year Abroad spent
    in Vienna (Wien), Austria (Oesterreich). I only learned today about your destined meeting there of Cynthia, the future mother of your daughter Emily and your son Christopher. That was in
    1965-1966 and I learned also today that you married Cynthia shortly after your 1967 Graduation from Holy Cross. For a guy who did not have much experience with girls in class (not since
    1958-1959 at Holy Family School!), you sure were a rapid and successful suitor! I, however, am not surprised really given your smile which was a token of all of the treasures residing within
    you. Also, having four sisters gave you a distinct advantage in knowing the paths to a girl’s heart!

    Fred, I am sure that you remember one of the many questions which I asked in class in 1958-1959 when we had Sister Andrew Marie as our teacher. She was teaching us about Religion
    (not really a surprise for a parochial school!) and she was extolling the virtues of Mary the Mother of God since God the Father had selected a woman to give birth (most certainly a
    virgin birth) to Jesus in Bethlehem. Sister Andrew Marie was teaching us about how high in esteem God the Father held women since he selected a woman for this great privilege (obviously God
    the Father had never gone through so-called “labor” Himself – presumably!). It was almost as if Sister Andrew Marie was a precocious feminist since she was hinting at the superiority of
    women among the human species. I raised my hand and asked her (not quite innocently but as a covert defender of our gender, Fred), “If God the Father thought that women were so
    great, why did Jesus get incarnated as a man?” If my memory serves, she was left speechless (this is a bit of a Big Fish narrative I suspect!).

    Regis High School was a scholarship school. It was the GEM of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus founded in Spain by Ignatius Loyola in 1540) in terms of what they offered by way of College Prep
    High Schools. Admission was gained through an Entrance Examination (an objective test) given to potential students (BOYS ONLY) in the parochial elementary schools in the New York City area.
    Fred, I remember taking the test. YOU DID BETTER THAN I DID ON THE TEST AND YOU GOT THE SCHOLARSHIP – I DIDN’T. I would at every opportunity remind you of this historical fact. And you, Fred, always very kindly remarked that this did not mean that YOU WERE SMARTER THAN I. We shared a lot of good humor over this since we both ended up with graduate degrees from Ivy
    League Universities (of course, Fred, Harvard was founded in 1636 and Columbia was a latecomer since it was founded on May 25th, 1754! not that we are competitive with each other, right, Fred?). Actually, you and I were not seriously competitive with each other but we each enjoyed a sense of “brothership” with each other as part of our male bonding.

    Part of that male bonding, Fred, happened for you when during 1966-1967 you went on an Odyssey. I transferred to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA in 1965-1966 and spent my senior year
    (1966-1967) there. I heard about this Odyssey however from our Holy Cross classmate, John Robert Landis (who had graduated from Xavier High School, a highly respected Jesuit High School in Lower Manhattan). John was a polyglot and wanted to study French as a graduate student at UC Berkeley. He had never visited it and you helped, Fred, in organizing a cross country road trip from Worcester, MA. to Berkeley, CA – OVER SPRING BREAK – to and fro!!!! John Landis speaks so highly of that once in a lifetime trip with a car packed with Holy Cross guys having a terrific time
    together. I am sure Fred that you were the LIFE OF THE PARTY on that trip (one of so many you were to take in your most rewarding and well-lived life, a life cut short in a cruelly premature fashion – Fred, you and I were meant to spend some more time together, getting to know each other even better than we did).

    Fred, I know that you and I share deep reservations about organized religion since it is a sword that cuts both ways – for the edification of humans away from sadistic cruelty to our conspecifics,
    other species, & Mother Earth (to say nothing of other areas of our universe/multiverse) & also, sadly, in the direction of radical intolerance fueled by deeply rooted aggression. The
    sociologists of religion remind us that it consists of two elements – 1) beliefs & 2) rituals. You came with your brilliant intellect and with your sensitive heart to reflect upon your Roman
    Catholic socialization, and you told me that you traveled down a path now that led to a wider view. In this significant regard, you join me and my teacher Joseph John Campbell (1904-1987)
    in moving beyond the beliefs and rituals of Roman Catholicism toward a greater sense of wonder about our lives in this universe. All three of us spent time in New Rochelle,
    N.Y. (where Campbell lived as a youngster and spent a lot of time in the New Rochelle Public Library). All three of us traveled the globe. All three of us encountered other religions, both
    sacred and secular. All three of us dealt with the ambivalence of being alive by attempting to emphasize LOVE over HATE. I alone am now still on this planet from the three of us.
    I shall carry all that I learn from you, Fred, forward into my life – so wildly and abundantly enriched by having you in it. You do live on in my heart, Fred.

    So I sign this letter to you, Fred:

    Much Love,

    973-307-5437 EST

  4. Dear Fred,
    We miss you, your friendship, wit and smile. I first met you when we served together on the Board of the Montessori School attended by our children and that friendship continued through the years at Holiday parties, theatre visits and of course the annual birthday celebration of the 4 couples with shared birthdays.
    The world is a better place for you being in it.
    Patricia and Jim Gilman

  5. Fred and I both attended Regis High School (’63) and Holy Cross College (’67). Indeed, we were in the same section (1C) as freshmen at Regis. I took a look at our Regis yearbook after I learned about Fred’s passing. The yearbook format was a formal (i.e., dressed in a tuxedo) photo under which each student entered some personal remarks. Here are a few of Fred’s entries: “…official cross examiner in Math class…loves everybody at dances…likes to argue…” I last saw Fred at our 50th Regis reunion in 2013. We had a pleasant time catching up with one another’s lives. I really enjoyed reading his obituary. He had a very full and varied life, that’s for sure. Requiescat in pace.

  6. Simply put, Fred was one of the dearest friends of my life. I met him when we were both married to other people and stationed in Munich in 1970 with the Army. We remained in touch with our new spouses through visits, phone calls, cards, and emails. We both loved music and dancing and would break into dance in a heartbeat. I will miss my sweet friend and his warm genuine smile. Hugs for Jennie, Emily, Christopher, and the entire family.

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