Alvin B. Lewis, Jr.

Alvin B. Lewis, Jr.

Alvin B. Lewis, Jr., 82, of Lancaster died on Monday, March 16, 2015 at Garden Spot Village, New Holland, PA. Al was born in Pittsburgh, PA; he was the son of the late Alvin B. and Ethel Light Lewis. He was married for 18 years to Elizabeth O'Shea Lewis. He was educated in the Lebanon, Pennsylvania public school and graduated from the Choate School, Wallingford, Connecticut; received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lehigh University, where he won the Dean's Service Award as the outstanding graduating senior; awarded a Bachelor of Laws Degree, with honors from Dickinson Law School where he also served as president of the student body. In 1999, he received "Alumnus of the Year Award" from Lehigh.

Elected in 1961 as the youngest District Attorney in the history of Lebanon County, also the youngest in the state of Pennsylvania, he was re-elected in 1965. In 1967, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys elected him the youngest president in their history. He was also elected a Director of the National District Attorneys Association. Al also ran for the House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

In 1969, Lewis was appointed Chairman of the Council of the Governor's Justice Commission. Upon his resignation in January of 1974, he was honored at a dinner by the members of the Commission, Governor, Attorney General and Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for his efforts to improve criminal justice in the state.

In 1976, Lewis was appointed Special Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations investigating the murders of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He later served as Acting Chief Counsel and Director of these investigations. Following this service, he returned to Pennsylvania to practice law, specializing in major trials throughout the United States. One such trial was the conviction of W.A. "Tony" Boyle in the United Mineworkers Murders, in which he served as a co-prosecutor with Richard A. Sprague.

During the late 70's and early 80's, Lewis became involved in the preservation and reuse of old, historic structures and their conversion to economically profitable and beautiful buildings in American cities. He testified on behalf of the private enterprise component of this American industry before the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress at a special hearing in Fanueil Hall, Boston, opposing the elimination of the historic tax incentives. Governor Thornburgh appointed Lewis as the director of the agency now called Preservation Pennsylvania.

In May of 1979, he was appointed by the governor and leaders of the PA Senate and House as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, the new and independent agency responsible for statewide investigation of organized crime and public corruption. He retired from the commission in 1984. It was during his tenure that the famous, A Decade of Organized Crime, was written and published by the Commission.

From 1979 to 1995, Lewis served as a partner in the Lancaster law firm of Hartman, Underhill & Brubaker, specializing in business counseling and major trials. In 1995, Lewis associated with Richard and Thomas Sprague, forming the firm of Sprague & Lewis, Ltd. The firm specialized in high profile civil and criminal litigation. One of their notable cases was their representation of Lancaster County and its district attorney in the successful federal appeal of the "Lambert murder case." The firm was named a "Preeminent Law Firm" by the Lawyers National Rating Publication. Sprague & Lewis closed in April of 1999 when Lewis was appointed Counsel to the law firm of Stevens & Lee, P.C. A former president of the Lebanon County Bar, Lewis also served as Chairman of the Trial Law Section of the Lancaster Bar Association for many years.

In August of 2000, Lewis was appointed Vice Chairman of the Lancaster Crime Commission by Mayor Smithgall, and also served as its Chairman of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

In addition to his membership as a partner in law firms, Lewis has served on boards of various business enterprises and on numerous professional, civic and charitable boards. In 1979, he received the Furtherance of Justice Award by Mercyhurst College and in 1982 he was recognized for his contributions to the improvement of law enforcement and leadership in the attack on organized crime by the Pennsylvania Senate and Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1985, he received the Distinguished Service Award by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission.

He was a champion for civil rights and rights of African Americans. His never-ending passion for Lehigh University wrestling led him to spear-head a 6 million dollar endowment for 2 scholarships at Lehigh University wrestling. The Lewis family name has been affiliated with Lehigh wrestling since World War II. Al loved flying his plane, historic preservation, travel, symphony and Broadway shows.

Al is survived by his wife Elizabeth O'Shea Lewis; his three children: a son Alvin B. Lewis III husband of Diedre Tagert of New York; a daughter, Judy W. Lewis, wife of Steven Krisky of Croton on Hudson, NY; a son, Robert B. husband of Jill Lewis of Havre de Grace, MD; a sister: Elizabeth Levengood of Annville, PA; a brother, Warren L. Lewis of Palmyra, PA; five grandchildren: Jacob B. Lewis, Isobel M. Lewis, Rachael Lewis-Krisky, Nathaniel Lewis and Lyndi Lewis.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Al's Memorial Service on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 31 S. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA. The family will greet friends at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Al's memory can be made to Lehigh University Wrestling, Office of Advancement, 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015-3086 or; The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 1281, Lancaster, PA 17608-1281; Trinity Lutheran Church, 31 S. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602.

Online condolences may be posted on our Web site:

The Groffs Family Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc.

528 West Orange Street

Lancaster, PA 17603



Groff Funeral & Cremation Services

528 West Orange Street
Lancaster, PA 17603