Robert Roe “Bobby” Lewis obituary

September 15, 2017


Submitted by the Lewis Family




Robert Roe Lewis, 80, was born on March 31, 1937, and passed away on August 28, 2017.


Robert was an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community. He is survived by his wife Allison (Sekaquaptewa) Lewis. Two children, Mark Lewis and Blaine Lewis, preceded him in death. He is survived by a son, Richard Lewis, and a grandson, Caleb Dylan Eicholtz.


Robert’s father was the late Reverend Dr. Roe Blaine Lewis of Lower San Tan Village District 4 of the Gila River Indian Community and his mother was the late Sallie Elizabeth Lewis of Parker.


He is also survived by two brothers, Rodney Blaine Lewis, former general counsel of the Gila River Indian Community, and John Lewis, former Executive Director of the Inter-tribal Council of Arizona. Robert and his brothers grew up in Casa Blanca, where their father was the Minister of the Vah-ki Presbyterian Church for many years. While growing up in Casa Blanca Robert was known as “Bobby” to his family and friends.


Robert graduated from Sacaton Elementary School, and then attended North Phoenix High School. Robert then attended and graduated from Whitworth College, Spokane, WA, with a B.A. in Sociology. Mr Lewis also earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University.


Robert was an outstanding middle distance runner for the Whitworth varsity track team.


Robert Roe Lewis served honorably in the U.S. Army and was an intelligence analyst and stationed in Fort Bragg, NC. He was assigned to the United States Army special warfare center.


Robert was a probation officer for Pinal County working with young offenders prior to being inducted into the Army. After serving in the U.S. Army he was employed by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community first as a director of the youth home and subsequently as director of the community social services program. He worked for SRPMIC for over 30 years.


Robert developed and administered the first transition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs social services programs to an Indian tribe. He served on the advisory board for the school of social work at ASU where he was also an Adjunct Instructor, and was also the first Native American representative to their alumni association.


Robert was a teacher, mentor, and advisor to several generations of Native American social workers. His intellect, insightfulness, and patient guidance paved the way for new understandings, and innovative and effective techniques in Native American social work. He was widely admired for his dignity and integrity.


Robert was active in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as an elder and a member of the choir for Central Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, AZ. He was Associate for Native American Ministries for the Grand Canyon Presbytery, and served on the Synod of the Southwest’s Native American Consulting Committee. He was the first Native American moderator of the Grand Canyon Presbytery. He also served on the Presbyterian General Assembly Mission Council, the highest ruling body of the Presbyterian Church. He was also a chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cook Christian Training School, in Tempe, AZ.


Wake services were held Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at the District 5 Multi-service Center, in Casa Blanca, and funeral services were held on Wednesday, September 6, at 6 am at the Vah-Ki Presbyterian Church in District 5. Burial services were held at the Upper San Tan Cemetery.


Lewis Family Thank You Letter


In Appreciation During Our Loss:


The family of the late Robert Roe Lewis wishes to express its deepest appreciation and gratitude for the many expressions of sympathy and assistance extended to the family as we mourn the loss of our dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and cousin. To the following we extend our thanks:


The Caring House, District 4 Service Center, District 5 Service Center, Gila River Police Department, Margo Hunsicker, Tribal Social Services, Vah-ki Presbyterian Church and Choir, Lower Santan Presbyterian Choir, Sacaton Flats Presbyterian Choir, Elders and Deacons Association, Elders and Deacons Combined Choir, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Choir, Sacaton Presbyterian Church Choir, Goodyear Presbyterian Church Choir, Gila Crossing Presbyterian Church Choir, Mr. Ernie Lucero, Ira Hayes Post, Haskell Osife Post, PeePosh Veterans, The Honorable Delbert Ray, President, SRPMIC, The Honorable Paul Smith, former President, SRPMIC, The Honorable Ivan Makil, former President, SRPMIC, Mr. Ed Gonzales-Santin, ASU School of Social Work, Mr. Jacob Moore, ASU President’s Office, Wally Jones, Vah-ki Presbyterian Church, Ms. Amelia Flores, Rev. Martha Sodongei, Manuel Johnson, Jay Johnson, Mr. Joe Kunkle.


Special Thanks To:


Mr. Wayne Delowe and family, The Dixon family, Leberta Collins, Annette Stewart, D5 Councilman Robert Stone, Anthony Gray, Mohave Bird Singers and Dancers, Robert Ameelyenah, Yolanda Hart Stevens.


And deepest appreciation to the many donations of food, water, flowers, and for the seen and unseen helping hands,


God bless each and every one of you.