WORCESTER-Janet Tunison Lewis of Worcester died peacefully at Knollwood Nursing Center home of natural causes on Monday, December 2. She was 102 years old. A lifelong resident of Worcester, she was the daughter of the late Lilla M.(Campbell) Tunison and Harold J. Tunison, who served as City Treasurer for many years.
Mrs. Lewis was born in 1917 and grew up on June Street, attending Midland St, May St and Sever St Prep Schools before graduating from Classical High School. At Classical she was a Horace Mann Scholar, an officer of the Student Council for 4 years, a class officer and a graduation speaker. She played field hockey, tennis and basketball all 4 years in high school. A graduate of the Class of 1939 at Smith College, she played tennis and golf, and was cox on the senior crew. She majored in Spanish, spent her Junior Year abroad in Mexico and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
After graduation from Smith, she worked for the Worcester School Department. In 1941 she attended the Middlebury College Spanish Language Institute. From 1941 to 1943 she was an instructor of Spanish at Wellesley College.
She married US Navy Lt. j.g. Burton Alfred Lewis in Coral Gables, Florida in December 1942. Following completion of the term at Wellesley in 1943, she joined her husband at Cocoa Beach Naval Air Station (now Cape Kennedy) where he was an air navigation instructor. After World War II, the couple returned to Worcester, where her husband practiced law and they raised 3 children.
Mrs. Lewis was a member of the Brittan Square Community Club from the late 1940s and served as its President during its 75th anniversary year. She compiled its archives and memorabilia in 1998. She was active in the Montachusett Girl Scout Council and was the longtime leader of Troop148 based at Thorndyke Road School. She was a member of The Smith College Club of Worcester and annually sold many pounds of pecans for the benefit of Smith scholarships. She enjoyed a close circle of friends centered around Adams Square Congregational Church and participated in both a bridge club and a supper club. Mrs. Lewis was a master needlewoman and her family treasure her handmade quilts, dresses, mittens, sweaters, crewel work and needlepoint creations. She also made beautiful lampshades, Christmas ornaments and dried flower arrangements. In spite of failing eyesight, at the age of 96 she created reversible Christmas place mats and trapunto pillows.
She was predeceased by her husband, Burton Alfred Lewis, and by her 3 sisters, Barbara Tunison Lamson, Margery Tunison Hoch and Cynthia Tunison Ream . Mrs. Lewis is survived by her children, Brenda Lewis of Stamford, CT, K. Duncan Lewis of Gilbert, AZ and Sandra Lewis of Boston, MA and by 6 nieces and nephews.
The family wish to thank caregivers Lucy Ndegwa, Bonnie Pardee and June Rice, agency owners Pam McKinley, Roger and Elizabeth Foss and the entire staff at Knollwood Nursing Center for their thoughtful and loving care of our mother.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, August 22 at 12:30pm Salem Covenant Church, 215 East Mountain St. Burial at Hope Cemetery will be private. Callahan Fay Caswell Funeral Home, 61 Myrtle St. is handling arrangements. The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be sent to The Smith Fund, Alumnae House, 33 Elm St, Northampton MA 01063 or to The Nature Conservancy 4245 Fairfax Drive Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203-9867.