Joe C. Lewis, 72

Joe C. Lewis was born on July 26, 1950, the third son of five boys and four girls born to Eugene and Marie Simpson Lewis of Clarkridge, Arkansas.

Joe passed away peacefully on March 14, 2023, at his home surrounded by his loving family who provided for his care during his illness.

After graduating from Mountain Home High School in 1968, Joe went on to study at Twin Lakes Vo-Tech in Harrison, Arkansas and while attending Vo-Tech, Joe worked nights at the Duncan Parking Meter Manufacturer, gaining a machinist certification after one year.

In 1970, Joe enlisted in the United States Navy and was stationed at Mayport, Florida aboard the USS Yosemite as a machinery repairman.  During his enlistment, Joe became a 1st Class Navy diver and later joined the Naval Reserves in 1974.

In 1971, Joe met his wife, Judy Mapp Lewis, of Jacksonville, Florida.  After being hired as a fireman for the Jacksonville Beach Fire Department in May of 1974, his first request was "that he was off on June 29th, 1974, for his wedding!" Joe and Judy had three adoring sons and raised their family in Jacksonville, Florida.  In September, 1974, shortly after their wedding, Joe's mother passed away and Joe and Judy took on the task of raising Joe's younger sister, Renee, providing her with a loving home during her teenage years.

Joe was trained at the Fire College in Maryland and during his 29-year career at the Jacksonville Beach Fire Department, he transitioned from firefighter to Fire Chief.  Joe always said, "It was the best job in the world" and he enjoyed all aspects of the job.  By his retirement in 2003, Joe had seen a lot of changes within the fire department and was very proud to have been a part of the improvements.

In his early years, after leaving the Navy and while working shifts as a fireman, and utilizing his Navy diving and machinist skills, Joe began his business, Lewis Diving & Salvage.

Joe was a very generous person, being involved with Boy Scouts and was Scoutmaster for Troop 181.  With three boys, Joe was an avid outdoorsman and involved in diving and Florida water sports.  Every summer Joe and the family would spend the first weeks of lobster season in Key West.  As a diver, he enjoyed collecting things from the sea such as old bottles, prehistoric shark teeth, whale vertebrae, etc. The whole family enjoyed trips back to Arkansas in the fall for deer season and visiting with his large extended Lewis Family and childhood friends.  Joe loved food and cooking and was instrumental in planning the family gatherings.

Joe belonged to the Shriners and Free Masons, as well as their Overland Motorhome Club.  Joe and Judy traveled to all of the 49 contiguous states in their motor home, driving to Alaska twice and making friends all over the United States and Canada. 

Leaving to mourn his passing is his wife Judy, his three sons, Duke (Nikki) Lewis of Jacksonville Beach; Drew (Amanda) Lewis of Jacksonville, Florida, and Colt (Becky) Lewis of Lowell, Arkansas and his grandchildren, Bryce and Kendal Lewis of Jacksonville Beach, and Morgan Lewis of Jacksonville.  Joe also was fortunate to have a bonus grandson, Lucas Gage of Lowell, Arkansas as well as a bonus granddaughter, Abby Scheynayder.

Joe is also survived by his siblings, Randy (Susan) Lewis and Renee Lewis Melton of Jacksonville; Clyde (Betty) Lewis, Don (Judy) Lewis, Steve (Kelly) Lewis, Janice (Ed) Lewis Herd, of Mountain Home, Arkansas and Candace Lewis Olds of Shreveport, Louisiana; along with a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, living all over the United States. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Judy A. Lewis Cox, brother-in-law Paul W. Cox and brother-in-law D. Paul Herd.

The Lewis family welcomes friends at One Church Jacksonville Beach (formerly First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Beach) 324 5th Street, North, Jacksonville Beach, on March 24, 2023, at 3:00 P.M. followed by a memorial at 4:00 P.M. Following the memorial there will be a Celebration of Joe's Life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Cards of condolences may be sent to 1020 Girvin Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32225.


Printed as submitted by the family.

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