In Memoriam: Dean S. Lewis, 46th President of the State Bar of Michigan


The State Bar of Michigan is deeply saddened by the death of its 46th president, Dean S. Lewis, who passed away on Aug. 26. He was 79 years old. Mr. Lewis, a Kalamazoo native, was SBM president from 1980-1981.

Lewis was known for his large physical stature, which was matched only by his big sense of humor. He became SBM president at age 46, and was known and loved for being the "every-day lawyer's lawyer." Lewis was a big believer in sacrificing something in return for what you've been given. He famously said, "Put something of yourself back into society . . . . Never forget to put some of what you take back into the profession . . . . Where, you may ask, 'do the time and energy come for this task?' There is no easy answer. They simply must be found."

State Bar President Bruce A. Courtade expressed deep sadness at his passing. "The legal community has lost a larger-than-life leader who was passionate about the profession and about giving back," he said." Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Lewis family."

Lewis was a 1958 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. He practiced in the area of estate planning and probate, business, and real estate, with the law firm Lewis, Reed & Allen in Kalamazoo. He served as president of the Kalamazoo County Bar Association and as a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. He was a member of the Corporation, Finance, and Business Law and Probate and Estate Planning Sections of the State Bar of Michigan, and the Corporation, Banking, and Business Law, and Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Sections of the American Bar Association. He was a Life Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the American Bar Foundation, the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and the American Judicature Society. Lewis served on numerous boards, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Kalamazoo County Red Cross, and the Boy Scouts of America. He served as president of and the Kalamazoo Rotary Club, clerk of the First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, and as a trustee of Olivet College, his alma mater.

He is survived by Jeanene, his wife of 55 years; his five children, Jane (William) Carpenter, Johnathan (Tammie), Thomas, David (Robyn) and James (Karen); and his thirteen grandchildren, Jane's children, Sarah and Daniel Carpenter; John's children, Abbey, Kelsey and Emily Lewis; Tom's children, Clayton, Eliza and Evelyn Lewis; David's children, Benjamin and Zachary Lewis; and Jim's children, Henry, Peter and Elizabeth Lewis. Also surviving him are his sister, Doreen (Lewis) Jump, sister-in-law, Thayma Lewis, sister- and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Ned Caywood and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his brother, Delmar Lewis.

Services will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 at the First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., Kalamazoo. Visitation will precede the services from 12:30–2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. Memorial donations can be made to Olivet College Alumni Scholarship Fund or First Presbyterian Church. For more information about Mr. Lewis' life and his funeral arrangements, visit


Dean S. Lewis

Dean S. Lewis Presidential Photo