Born a proud Hoosier, but an equally proud Buckeye, Ann Hodson Lewis passed away peacefully on November 25 at the age of 95. A midwesterner through and through, she was the third child of Glea and “Doc” Hodson, born in a farmhouse outside of Amboy, Indiana, on January 21, 1928. She grew up in Peru, Indiana, and graduated with a degree in nursing from Indiana University. Even when the rest of her family headed west to California, she chose to stay where her roots were.
Her husband of 63 years, Dr. W.J. (Jack) Lewis, who passed away in 2014, might have had something to do with that decision. He was finishing up medical school while she was earning her nursing degree when they met. They married between semesters on February 3, 1951, spent his residency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (where she worked in the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit), and moved to Dayton in 1952 for his career in Family Medicine.
One year later, Ann, Jack, and their newborn son moved to Van Buren Township (which would become the city of Kettering). As a newly-minted suburban homemaker, she was in her element. Three daughters followed in quick succession, and Ann reveled in taking care of her growing family. The Lewis house was always filled with kids from the neighborhood and various schools the kids attended. Ann was a second mom to many of her kids’ friends. She delighted in their accomplishments and in their families, and was always interested in their lives.
Ann and Jack joined the brand-new Christ Methodist Church (later Christ UMC). Almost 70 years later, she was still attending services on Shroyer Road. She made lifelong friends working in the church nursery on Sundays for 25 years, as a communion steward, as a member of the ladies’ “Circles,” and as a volunteer at the church bazaars.
Ann became the chief chauffeur and a cheerleader at all the kids’ activities. She was actively involved in the PTA, volunteered as a school nurse, and was a yearly room mother. As Jack became more involved in the American Medical Association, he soon recognized that his most valuable asset at meetings was Ann. She made everyone she talked with feel at ease (and they all loved the chocolate buckeyes she sent out at Christmas each year). She was also an active member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Montgomery County Medical Society.
Ann was a prolific seamstress and knitter. Her grandchildren all received handmade baby blankets at birth and full-sized blankets years later that featured their college colors. She was a passionate fan of the Cincinnati Reds (Joe Morgan was her favorite player), the UD Flyers, and the OSU Buckeyes.
Ann and Jack were part of a unique group of friends from DePauw University who vacationed together every year in northern Michigan starting in 1949. One of her greatest delights was getting to spend retirement years in the family cottage with her friends’ cottages next door. That tradition continues to this day with four generations gathering together each summer.
Ann and Jack were also part of a Diners’ Club that was made up of five couples who met for dinner once a month for over 30 years and became lifelong friends.
Ann is survived by her children: Bill (Susan), Kathy Dierkes (Joe), Megan Haddox (Craig), and Jill; seven grandchildren: Jackie Cox (Michael), Courtney Brinkman (Matt), Katie Dierkes, Evan Pierce, Carrie Dierkes, John Lewis (Alex), and Mary Dierkes; seven great-grandchildren: Livie Cox, John Brinkman, Jack Lewis, Addie Grace Cox, Emily Brinkman, Caroline Brinkman, and Hope Lewis; sister-in-law, Marge Hodson; and a host of nieces and nephews who are related by blood or by friendship. We will all miss her beyond measure.
The family thanks the staff of Bethany Village and Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for their kind care of our mom.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, December 28 at 11:00 AM at Christ United Methodist Church (3440 Shroyer Rd., Kettering, OH 45429).
If anyone would like to make a contribution in Ann’s name, please consider the following organizations: Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton (www.ohioshospice.org) and Christ United Methodist Church, Then Sings My Soul campaign (www.christumc.org).