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Mary Lewis, 67, `dream team’ mom


High school sports were a big part of her life. Several of her sons were athletes.

Mary Lewis rode through the neighborhood for the last time yesterday. And the longtime provider and mother of 11 children would have liked what she saw if she could have seen it.

She was surrounded by family, friends and loved ones on a day when the winter sky, mostly cloudless, seemed especially beautiful and sun-kissed.

Mary Lewis was carried to her grave yesterday on a brisk winter morning. Mrs. Lewis, 67, died of a heart attack Thursday at her home on West Speedway. She was retired after working for 25 years as a cook at the Arizona Training Facility here.

Funeral services for Mrs. Lewis were conducted at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, a small church located just blocks from her home on St. Clara Street. Burial was at South Lawn Cemetery.

“She was totally committed to motherhood and her family,’ said the Rev. Ellwood McDowell, Trinity’s pastor.

Mrs. Lewis was a church mother at Trinity, and in many ways was a mother to an extended family of both relatives and non-relatives.

“She is on my `dream team’ of mothers,’ said Delano Price. “She gave me so many intangible things.’

Price, who played on state championship teams in both football and basketball at Tucson High Magnet School, was one of several local successful athletes who credited Lewis yesterday with having an impact on their lives.

“She was a strong woman who raised 10 kids basically by herself,’ said Kenny Locklin, who played high school football at THS with two of Lewis’ sons, Osia and Steve. Locklin is now Tucson High’s defensive coach.

High school sports were a big part of Mary Lewis’ life. Several of her sons were accomplished athletes at Tucson High.

“Her highlight of the week was Tucson High football games,’ said Steve Lewis, her youngest child. “She lived for that.’

The marriage between Mary (Fletcher) and Osia Delmer Lewis Jr. dissolved soon after the family settled in Tucson in 1962.

“That was about 33 years ago,’ said Osia Lewis III, who has been an assistant football coach at Oregon State for five years. “Steve was about 2 years old then.’

“Momma often worked two or three jobs,’ Osia said. “She did whatever she had to do to keep the family together.’

The Lewis family produced six college graduates.

Mary Lewis’ biggest hurt in life centered around high school sports and one of her children. Her second son, Marvin, a Parade All American as a linebacker at Tucson High in 1970, suffered a broken neck in a swimming accident a year later while attending Arizona Western College in Yuma.

“His spinal cord was severed when he dove into an irrigation canal and struck his head,’ said legendary Tucson High coach Ollie Mayfield. “Marvin had played one season at Western. He was all set to play for the University of Southern California in the fall.’

Marvin Lewis died at his mother’s house in 1975.

“It (Marvin’s death) took a lot out of her,’ Steve Lewis said.

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