John Wesley Lewis 1922 - 2011 John Wesley Lewis, a 68-year resident of Hawthorne, passed away January 2, 2011 at the age of 88 at his home in Vaughn, New Mexico under the special care of his loving wife of 25 years, Helen Garde Lewis. He was an honest, loyal, loving, hardworking, optimistic and content husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and American patriot. Above all he loved his family and the United States of America. John was born in Vaughn, New Mexico on September 29, 1922. He dropped out of high school to go to work and married Sylvia Craft in 1941. They moved to Los Angeles in 1942, where he worked for Los Angeles Shipbuilding as a welder before moving on to Northrop Aircraft in Hawthorne. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1944 and served as a B-17 tail gunner in the 8th Air Force, 94th Combat Wing, 457th Bomber Group, 748th Bomb Squadron. On his eighth mission, his plane was shot down over Berlin and he became a POW until the war's end. After his discharge he returned to work as a welder for Northrop Aircraft and started his family. They moved to Hawthorne in 1946. He was one of the founders of the Hawthorne National Little League and coached his sons' baseball teams for 8 years. He always had a second job, but his favorite was teaching welding at El Camino College where he taught night classes beginning in 1956. After attending Leuzinger High School at night, he received his high school diploma and his vocational teaching credential. He retired from teaching in 1978 after 22 years. In 1984 his wife Sylvia passed away at the young age of 59. His successful career at Northrop Aircraft spanned 43 years including many years as a welding technician and research analyst in the materials research laboratory. Just prior to his retirement from Northrop in 1985, he met, courted, and married Helen Garde of his hometown of Vaughn, New Mexico. They joyfully spent every day together for the next 25 years traveling between New Mexico and California with many trips around the US, Argentina and Spain. John Wesley leaves the following to cherish his memory: wife Helen Garde Lewis of Vaughn, New Mexico; son, John (Mary) Lewis of Palos Verdes Estates, CA; son, Max (Barbara) Lewis of Fulshear, TX; granddaughter, Katie (Kenny) Seals of Bakersfield, CA; granddaughter, Tracy (Ross) Necessary of Burbank, CA; grandson, Michael (Melinda) Lewis of Truckee, CA; grandson, Paul Lewis of San Diego, CA. He also leaves great grandchildren, Camden, Gavin and Maren Seals and Lorelei Necessary. A gathering of family and friends will be held at Rice Mortuary, 5310 Torrance Blvd. in Torrance, California on Monday, January 17, 2011. The service will begin at 11 am, with a reception in the Lighthouse Room at 12 pm. Burial will follow at the Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX, 203 World Way West, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90045 or

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  1. Fifty years ago, Mr. Lewis chose me to play on his baseball team. That began a livelong love of the game and a relationship with the Lewis family. Opportunities provided at a young age that taught valuable life lessons; part of the recipe that made me who I am today. Thanks for choosing me……Go Braves!

  2. In June 1985, we first met Wesley at a family wedding. A couple weeks later, he married Helen Garde from Vaughn, beginning a life long friendship as we welcomed him into our family. We are sad to see him go. Our deepest condolences to Helen and all the family. Love, the Montoya and Pena family.

  3. Dear Helen, On behalf of the Orlando and Josie Delgado family, please accept our sincerest condolences and best wishes for the years ahead. We always tremendously enjoyed your visits and photographs with Aunt Lina. You brought our mother great joy (she must’ve taken the pictures). May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.

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