Obituaries

Robert Kennedy Lewis

On Saturday, September 3, 2022, Robert Kennedy Lewis, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. 

Bob was born on September 28, 1953 to Martha Nita Kurzdorfer and Richard Baker Lewis in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He began his musical piano journey at the age of 6 and grew to become a most gifted and talented pianist.  Bob graduated from Union High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance.  He received his Masters of Education and endorsement in Computer Science from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  Next to music, Bob enjoyed and never stopped learning about technology.

Bob spent many years touring with bands throughout the United States and Canada.  It was in Regina, Saskatchewan that he met and fell in love with his wife, Iris.  Together they raised two beautiful children and recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.  Bob worked for many years as a dialysis field service technician and educator, before returning to his love of music and retiring from the City of Newport News Public Schools after 22 years of service as the piano music teacher at Woodside High School.  Following his retirement, Bob continued teaching private piano lessons in his home and was the lead pianist at Stonehouse Presbyterian Church.  Throughout his musical career, Bob touched countless hearts either through his own performances, or by sharing his love and knowledge of music with his students and others.  

Preceded in death by his parents, Bob is survived by his loving wife, Iris, his daughter Alicia (special friend, Stephen), and his son, Aaron (Amber) as well as his grandchildren Logan, Teklyn and Addison, sisters Dianne Whitman (Mike) and Suzanne Thomas (Rick), sister-in-law Diana Duncan, and brothers-in-law Ted Chomick (Sharon) and Orest Sachary, as well as many nieces and nephews. 

In November 2020 Bob underwent a double lung transplant at the University of Virginia Medical Center and fought a long and difficult battle to receive the transplant and after it, but he was so happy to have the additional years enjoying his family and playing his music, especially for his son’s wedding and most recently accompanying his grandson, Logan, on a recital duet.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. at Denbigh United Presbyterian Church, 302 Denbigh Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23608.  The service will be live-streamed at facebook.com/denbighpres.  Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA 23601.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the music program at Stonehouse Presbyterian Church, 9401 Fieldstone Parkway, Toano, VA 23168, or to a charity of your choice. 

You, Bob, have been the rock of this family.  Your love, compassion, and never-ending shoulder of advice, will be so missed.  If our love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.  We love you so much. 

4 Comments

  1. Mike Burcher

    This is a beautiful tribute to a musician who not only brought expertise and passion to the music at Stone House Presbyterian Church, he helped us all become better musicians and led us to truly praise God in worship. We already miss you. — Pastor Mike

  2. Mike Burcher

    Bob not only brought passion and expertise to our music ministry at Stone House Presbyterian Church, he encouraged us in ways that made us better musicians. He helped us praise God with even more beauty and love. Bob, we miss you already! I bet the pianos in heaven are magnificent! — Pastor Mike

  3. Karen Beyer

    Adequate words are hard to find in these situations. I do know Bob was such a gifted musician and I’m sure made a huge impact on so many. He was a gentle man and left a positive impression in many ways. He was a cherished friend to my brother Kim and I know he will be missed terribly. Memories and the love he inspired and shared will last forever. Play on Bob, play on…the music in Heaven just got sweeter.

  4. Joell Kepka

    Forever missed and deeply cherished, we are so thankful for the opportunity Mason had to sit under Mr. Lewis’ expertise of piano. Mason learned from the best of the best and carries on the excellence Mr. Lewis deposited in him. They formed a tight bond over music and respected each other immensely. Mr. Lewis will never be forgotten. He is deeply loved, respected, and sorely missed! We speak love and peace over his family.

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