Prominent Newburgh Businessman and community leader Runston “Pop” Lewis, passed away last Wednesday at the age of 86. Born in Brockway on January 22,1934, Lewis grew to become an icon in the Newburgh community.
He “was a pillar in the City of Newburgh and beloved by all,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey on Facebook.
According to his obituary on Legacy.com, Lewis served as the third ever African-American police officer in Newburgh. In his lifetime he has obtained an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree. He also became the assistant director of a children’s home, and had a successful career in social work.
Lewis served over 20 years on the Newburgh Enlarged City School District [NECSD] Board of Education, and served 12 of those years as President. At the same time, he was a successful businessman running businesses and rental properties in Newburgh.
He always had a passion for helping children and the community.
“He convinced me to teach full time and to forget about Hollywood,” said Harvey who is a NECSD history teacher.
He ran various social organizations, started a scholarship, organized community dances to benefit mothers and senior citizens, and served on various boards. He also organized an annual community cookout known as Family Day.
“His Family Day cookouts were amazing,” said Harvey. “His greatest legacy is his family.”
In his lifetime, Lewis was married to the late Joyce Y. [Warner] Lewis. He is the father of Karen [Lewis] Tucker, Michael [Loretta] Lewis, and Linda Lewis-Burger.
He is survived by his children, nine grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, and seven great great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers, lifelong friends, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
“I knew Pop Lewis and his family for nearly 50 years and my thoughts and prayers go out to them,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson on Facebook.
His private internment was held this past Tuesday. Due to the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] crisis, his memorial service will be held at a later date.
“Thank you Mr. Runston Pop Lewis for showing us how to be responsible men in this community,” said Harvey.