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In Memoriam:  Creighton Andrew Lewis, '05

By Beth Lewis


Some know him as “Mr. Lewis,” some as Creighton or Andrew, some as “Knob Lewis,” and many as just “Andy.” We know him as our son.

Andy began his Citadel journey at the age of ten, at a summer camp sponsored by the college, His journey ended at The Citadel as a senior at the age of twenty-one, having worked his last summer at The Citadel Summer Camp.

The moment we picked him up from that first summer camp, he was ready to go back the next year. In fact, he attended that camp every summer until he was sixteen, earning the Mark Clark Award several times for exceptional skills, behavior, attitude, and achievement, yet he still did not have enough of The Citadel. He worked as a counselor for several summers, then proudly spent his last summer in 2004 there as head counselor, essentially in charge of the camp – at the age of twenty, the youngest counselor ever to hold that position.

A family friend once asked Andy, home for Christmas his knob year, how he liked The Citadel. Without hesitation, Andy replied, “I love it.” Our friend had never heard a knob say that about The Citadel mid-way through the difficult freshman year of the fourth-class system. Andy’s advice to a fellow knob reflects the sense of ease he felt amid the most difficult challenges: “Just let it go in one ear and out the other. They yell at everybody.”

As a knob on the tennis team, Andy was given additional responsibilities off the court. Coach Groshon tasked him with helping to organize and manage the SoCon Tennis tournament held that spring in Charleston. Coach realized that, even as a knob, Andy had leadership skills and could be depended on to start a project and see it to completion, knowing it would be done to the best of his ability and done right.

Andy’s dad, Bill, always told him that if he attended The Citadel, he would always be able to get a good job. Citadel grads look after each other and are always there for a brother. Even as a sophomore, Andy began to understand this. When we attended the wedding of a Citadel grad, Andy wore his uniform and was overwhelmed at the kindness of the alumni he met at the wedding. He came to us with several business cards he had been given by these fellow brothers, who offered to help him find a job when he graduated. Andy was overwhelmed by their generosity and thrilled to be a part of The Citadel family.

At the beginning of his junior year, we got a call from Andy. He was excited and nervous and needed to talk. He had been nominated to serve as Charlie Company’s honor court representative. We had no idea what this meant, so he explained. We told him this was a great honor to be respected and trusted by his fellow cadets enough to be nominated for this position. He was so proud to have been selected.

When he and a good friend decided they wanted to go to Australia to study for a semester his junior year, we couldn’t say no. He tried to tried to convince his dad that it would cost the same to go there as to be at The Citadel for a semester. We all knew that would not be quite true. It was a chance of a lifetime, and we had to let him go. He was surprisingly good about emailing us and sending pictures home. Spring break was another adventure, as they toured around Australia by Jeep with a group. Ayers Rock, the “red rock” landmark of Australia, is still on his computer. When he called to say he was going sky diving, our only request was that he call when he landed safely. Well, two days later, he did call. There had been no phone or computer available. The video of him sailing through the air with a big grin says it all. He had lots of pictures taken of him on this trip. Maybe he knew we would need these memories.

Upon becoming an officer as a senior, he was excited about doing away with the rifle and carrying a sword. When we went to order it, he was unsure of which type he wanted. We knew what he was thinking, and they were not inexpensive. We told him to get the one he really wanted, because we were so proud of him and wanted him to have this special sword to keep the rest of his life. I carried it walking to the cemetery behind him.

Many knob cadets told us that Andy was a great senior to them. He did not yell just to yell, which gave more weight to his words when someone did need correcting for their own good. He did not harass them just because he could. He gained their respect with his fairness and honesty.

Andy enjoyed hunting with his dog, Shadow. He and his dad spent nearly every Saturday on the four-wheeler preparing for deer season. Many a night was spent standing in the cold, holding the dead deer’s legs steady as it hung from the beam at the barn while he skillfully skinned it. Sorry to say, Andy did not get a shot at a deer that last night. The farm where he grew up contains thousands of memories of four-wheeler riding in the snow and rain, fishing, swinging off the rope at the pond, playing in the creek with his trucks as a youngster, and riding in it on the four-wheeler as a man. As his mother, I cherish the memory of the rides on the back of the four-wheeler when Andy would go as fast as he could.

We know that Andy was proud of his fellow cadets and friends as they honored him at his funeral by their caring manners and actions – standing for hours beside his casket at visitation and marching from the church to the cemetery following the horse-drawn caisson with his camouflaged casket. You can bet he grinned when Charlie Company did the jive step at the cemetery just one more time, with permission from General Grinalds, of course.

I always tell Andy, each time I visit him, that he will never be forgotten and that he influenced so many people in his lifetime. Now, with this scholarship, he will not be forgotten. We, his parents, love Andy and miss him dearly. He left a final message to us engraved in his ring: “casual cat, and “thanks maw and dad.” What more could parents want from their son?

To make a gift to this fund in Cadet Lewis's memory, please click the "Donate Now" button above.  When completing the form, please select a designation of "Other" and enter "Creighton Andrew Lewis Memorial Scholarship."


 

Excerpt from the 2005 Charlie Company Class History,
reprinted from the 2005 Sphinx:

"On a more serious note, on October 17th of 2004, Charlie lost Andy Lewis, the epitome of casual.  May all of us forever remember Andy and his commitment to The Citadel, and most of all, his commitment to Charlie.  The last words from Tennyson's "Ulysses" describe who we are as the Class of 2005 without him:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hears,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

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