Woodworker and poet shares his talents

Woodworker and poet shares his talents

By Madeline Otten

Age hasn’t slowed Palmyra resident Fred Lewis, 92, from sharing his passion for woodworking with others.

Lewis was born and raised in Creston, N.C., a town in which the mountains meet North Carolina and Tennessee. In 1943, he and his family moved to Fork Union and started their new life on a farm.

Fast forward to 1992, when Lewis started woodworking and made a hobby out of it. He has a workshop in his backyard – formerly his TV repair shop – and creates wooden designs for himself and others.

In 2015 Lewis’ Palmyra United Methodist Church pastor asked him to make about 100 small wooden crosses. Since then he has been making them for anyone in the neighborhood.

“When my pastor asked me to make the crosses, I got myself into a job,” said Lewis.

He glues together three pieces of cedar and sketches the cross design. Lewis optimizes his space, fitting about 52 outlines of the cross, and gets around 150 from the three boards together. In total, Lewis has made 6,500 crosses and his collection continues to grow.

Some of his crosses have even been as far as the Middle East. The son of a friend and fellow churchgoer, Capt. Kevin Whitney, is in the Air Force. Whitney’s father sent a couple of Lewis’ crosses overseas to help comfort members of the Armed Forces. Whitey responded by asking for more for his crew, and Lewis gladly made an additional 150 to send over.

Last November Whitney returned to the United States and attended the same church service as Lewis. At the service, Whitney presented Lewis with an American flag that was flown in an F-15E Strike Eagle on a combat sortie over Iraq along with a certificate. His crosses had made such an impact that Whitney wanted to thank Lewis for his work in person.

“Because of his faithfulness we were able to show God’s love to lots of people,” said Whitney. “This is for your faithfulness to not only God, but your country.”

Lewis also enjoys writing poetry and posts his work on Facebook. His first poem was about his wife when they first met in 1947. It is about 15 pages with 10 verses on each page.

After he and his family moved to Fluvanna County, Lewis and his brother took his newly bought Jeep for a drive around town on a Sunday afternoon in August 1947. They went to the country store run by two people named Mary and Elmer. Mary’s younger sister, Margaret, was visiting from Baltimore and it was that day when Lewis met his future wife.

The two started dating, but when Lewis was 21 years old, he planned on going to school in Cincinnati, Ohio; however, he still wanted to be with Margaret. After talking, they found an answer to their solution. They got married and moved to Ohio to begin their new journey together. After school, they both got jobs in a factory and had their firstborn son. They eventually moved back to Fork Union and in 1955 he and Margaret opened a TV repair shop. Two years later they purchased a home in the town of Palmyra where their business was taking off.

Lewis was and still is an active member in the community. He was also the fire chief in Palmyra from 1962 to 1989 and was recognized for his 45 years of service in May 2001. He continues to attend services at Palmyra United Methodist Church and post poetry on Facebook.

Now with the ability to share his poetry, Lewis posts his poetry about himself, family members, and his day online to friends and family.

“I started posting one almost every day for no particular reason. People enjoyed them so much and they comment about what they like about them,” said Lewis.

About two years ago, Lewis made a wooden clock for one of his granddaughters in the U.S. Air Force. He posted a photo of the detailed clock along with this poem:

“She was enlisting in the Air Force that day.
An enlistment for a six-year stay.
You might want to know who this lady would be.
She is my granddaughter, Pa is what she calls me.
Very soon she went to South Korea, for a one-year stay.
Should be coming home this March, if everything goes the right way.
Of all the clocks in the last few years, that I have done
This most certainly is the very best one.
I am now making one like it, and when I am all through
It will be going to someone in the Air Force too.
A very short story tonight I would say.
That is all I have to write today.
Good night now to everyone out there
Nothing more at all to share.
Bye now
God bless”

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138