Booker T. Lewis was born September 29, 1926, on the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tennessee to the union of sharecroppers Charlie Lewis and Betty Price Lewis. He was the second child of nine siblings. Booker completed the sixth grade at the local elementary school. Booker accepted Christ at an early age.
In 1944, Booker moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he lived with his maternal aunt and uncle, Georgia Price Bunton and Pete Bunton. He held several jobs in Cincinnati until he joined the United States Army in 1950. During his service with the United States Army, he served in the Korean War where he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant in charge of the Motor Pool Mechanics. He was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1952.
Booker then moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1952 where he lived with his paternal aunt and uncle Velma Lewis Mason and Tom Mason. There, he worked temporary jobs at and around the Chicago Stock Yards until he found his dream job.
In 1953, Booker began employment as a machine mechanic with People’s Gas Light and Coke Company of Chicago, where he operated an air jack hammer for the street work crews. He loved his job and the fellowship of his coworkers. He was always willing to take additional assignments for over-time and worked many of his off days. He was so energetic and enthusiastic about his work, his co-workers nicknamed him “Jitter Bug”.
In 1954, Booker met and married Waurene Reaves. Waurene was the love of his life. To this union two children were born: Steven and Maurice. He had a deep sense of family. During the early years, he and his family visited their extended family every week. Booker, Waurene, and the kids were always present for weddings, funerals, and family holiday gatherings wherever and whenever the family called.
In 1963 he was promoted to Number one Mechanic (Lead Mechanic) by People’s Gas, and iIn 1972 he received his General Education Diploma from Chicago Public Schools. Booker was then promoted to Foreman for one of People’s Gas Emergency Street Gang Crews. Booker’s team repaired natural gas leaks and initiated the installation of new gas pipe infrastructure for the Southside Chicago area. Booker retired from People’s Gas in 1987. In 1989 Booker began employment with the Chicago Housing Authority as a Maintenance Mechanic for the Chicago Housing Project Developments. He then retired from the Chicago Housing Authority in 2001.
Booker loved sports and sporting events. His favorite team was the Chicago White Sox. He followed them from Manager Paul Richards to Manager Tony La Russa. He often took the family to the Chicago White Sox home games to watch them play. Booker coached and managed the neighborhood little league teams for five years.
In 1983 Booker was baptized again and joined the Stony Island Church of Christ and was an active member in the church. He led rehabilitation projects for the church building repairs and scheduled maintenance. He maintained his membership at the church until 2015. Booker and Waurene moved their membership to the Merrillville, Indiana Church of Christ in 2015.
He is preceded in death by his parents: Charlie and Betty Lewis; and siblings: Elbe, Amanda, Lorene, Jesse, Joseph, George, Roger.
Booker is survived by his beloved wife Waurene; loving sons: Steven (Angela) of Merrillville, Indiana and Maurice (Tracey) of Covington, Georgia; his sister, Dorothy Rose of Bolivar Tennessee; sisters-in law: Floy Jean Brinkley of Country Club Hills, Illinois, and Anna Lewis of Akron, Ohio; brother-in-law Ransom (Virgnia) Reaves of Memphis, Tennessee; cherished grandchildren: Maurice (Ebony), Dominque, Shantehra, Angel, and Charles; treasured great grandchildren: Jasmyne, Justice, Janele, Jermiah, Keoni, and Kyndal; and dear Godchildren: Willie Ezell and Carol Ezell of Crown Point, Indiana.
Friends and family are invited to visit on Friday, April 8, 2022 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (7535 Taft Street, Merrillville, Indiana).
Funeral services and military flag ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 1:00 PM, also at the chapel . Private burial to take place at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois.