Lewis Felix Warren packed his bags and left for his latest adventure on November 16, 2019. This trip was to be his last; eternal rather than international, and one to last forever. He left to join his Lord and Savior, his beloved wife and the family of believers in heaven.
Lewis was born on December 7, 1927, in Marvel Alabama, a coal-mining town owned by the Roden Coal Company. Lewis was the youngest child and the second son of Robert Lee and Rubyee Lucile Suell Warren. Robert was a foreman in the coal mines of Marvel. Lucille was a homemaker, keeping (she said) the cleanest home in Marvel.
To hear Lewis tell it, his childhood was idyllic; no shoes after Easter, catfishing, frog catching, shooting mistletoe out of the oak trees in December, squirrel dumplings, fried chicken and biscuits for breakfast and parents that loved him.
He attended grade school and junior high in Marvel, Alabama. He graduated from West Blockton High School, in West Blockton, Alabama, as did all of his siblings. It seems his parents didn’t want their children to attend Marvel high school with the Suell kids.
The most monumental event, of his young life, occurred on his 14th birthday, December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. Lewis received his draft notice in early December of 1945. He asked to be deferred in order to graduate with his high school class and was denied. His enlistment date was set for some time in April of 1946. On March 28, 1946, he joined the Navy.
Lewis served as helmsman, until January 20, 1948, aboard the USS Andromeda (AKA-15). After being discharged from the Navy, he returned to Alabama and enrolled at the University of Alabama.
While attending the U of A, his parents moved to Utah, where his two sisters and their husbands lived, and his father obtained work at the Western Consolidated Pipe Division of US Steel in Provo, Utah. During summer break, Lewis drove to Utah to visit his family. While there, he applied for a Tool and Equipment Design position at Hill Air Force Base and was hired, necessitating a move from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Layton, Utah.
Two doors down from his parents’ home in Orem, Utah was a young man who was also a friend of the Croft family around the corner. This young man was persuasive in describing the charms of the Crofts’ oldest daughter, Maxine. The pressure, by Lewis’ mother, to ask Maxine out was quite intense. Lewis phoned her on a Saturday afternoon, in July of 1952, telling her, “Let’s put this thing to rest. Come and have a fresh lime with me.” Quite surprisingly, she accepted and their fate was sealed. A second date was made to see The Merry Widow with Fernando Lamas that evening. They married November 8, 1952, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lewis remained with Hill Field Air Force Base until 1955. While the couple lived in Layton, Utah, their two oldest sons were born: David Lee in 1953 and Roger LaVell in 1955.
It was in Layton, that both Lewis and Maxine made the decision to place their faith and trust for salvation in the saving grace of Jesus as provided by his death on the cross, which covered all of their sins. They both joined the Southern Baptist Church at this time.
May 16, 1955, he was hired by Western Consolidated Pipe Division of US Steel in Provo, Utah as Detailer Draftsman in the Engineering Department and the family moved to Orem, Utah. He quickly rose through the ranks; Detailer Draftsman, Design Draftsman, Supervisor of Quality Assurance, Welding Engineer, Operating Practice Engineer, General Foreman of ERW pipe, and Manager of Pipe Mill Inspection and Pipe Mill Metallurgy. He was instrumental in developing the Electric Resistance Welding of rolled steel pipe, a process that he wrote many published articles on. While employed with US Steel, he made many business trips, both within the states and internationally. He was a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
The years in Orem brought them 3 more children: Lewis F in 1956, Carolyn Jeanette in 1960 and Larry Edward in 1963. In November of 1959, they moved to the home they built just off of 400 West and 600 South in Orem.
He was a member, and a deacon, of the First Baptist Church in Provo, Utah and the First Baptist Church of Pleasant Grove, Utah.
He retired from US Steel on October 31, 1983. Not wanting to stop working, he began a consulting business; Warren Consulting, Inc. He went to Longview, Texas under contract to Lone Star Steel and was hired as Senior Welding Engineer, Senior Metallurgist and Corporate Director of Quality. He stayed in Longview, Texas for about 4 years.
He completed the planning, engineering, purchasing of equipment and installation of a 16-inch OD ERW pipe mill in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He was hired by British Petroleum to survey pipe mills and determine those with the capacity to produce 3,500 miles of 52-inch diameter pipe that were to run from Alaska to Chicago. This project was stalled in the US Congress and was not completed.
During his time as a consultant, he joined the International Executive Service Corps and continued to travel the world, assisting pipe mills in other countries with the quality of their pipe. He traveled to Canada, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, China, Japan, Russia and finally (at the age of about 88), to Malaysia. He also served a member of several committees of the American Petroleum Institute.
Unfortunately, as life sometimes happens, Maxine became ill with dementia, ending Lewis’ travels. She suffered a stroke in November 2016. They could no longer maintain their independent lifestyle and, leaving their home of 58 years, they moved to Baker City, Oregon in order to be cared for by their daughter. Maxine’s death in May 2017 left Lewis bereft.
As a young father, he was always strict, often harsh and quite exacting. As an older man, he softened into his age and became kind and gentle. Getting to know him, at this level, was an unexpected delight of his adult children and many treasured memories were made.
Lewis maintained his health for just over two years following Maxine’s death, but his heart was soon to give out and he quietly slipped away. He will be interred in the Mount Hope Cemetery, with full military honors, next to his wife of 64 years on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 11:30 AM. A service following will be held at Baker City Christian Church on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 12:30 PM.
His death was preceded by his parents; his two sisters, Rubyee Lee Martin and Dorothy Ellis; his brother Robert Suell; his oldest son, David Lee; his niece, Dorothy Danielle Bright; his nephew, Michael Warren and his parents-in-law LaVell and Vera Croft.
He is survived by his children and their spouses: Roger and Beverly Warren, Lew and Cindy Warren, Carolyn and Paul Kerbs, Larry and Stephanie Warren; by his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, his great-great-grandchildren, his nephews and his nieces, and Maxine’s sister and her husband: Myrleen and Max Healy.
He will be missed.
Roll Tide Y’all.
Thank you, from the Lewis Warren family to Heart and Home Hospice, The Quilting Club of Baker City and Baker City Christian Church for your care and concern during this time.
Memorial contributions in honor of Lewis may be made to the Missions of Hope International through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
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