Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Gayle Lewis


Gayle Henry Lewis, 96, passed away at Olivenhain Guest Home in Encinitas, Calif., on June 25, 2018.

He was born on January 25, 1922, in Wheatland, Wyo., to Frank Gayle Lewis and Margaret Irene (McGuire) Lewis. Gayle grew up in Thermopolis, Wyo., and attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941, but received a deferment in order to complete his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve as a Sargeant in the 346th Bombardment Group, Army Air Base in Pratt, Kan., and in Puerto Rico, from 1943 to 1946, working as a turret mechanic on the B-29 Superfortress. Upon discharge from the Army, Gayle returned to Thermopolis where he worked as a Civil Engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a principal inspector on the construction of Boysen Dam from 1946 to 1952. During this time he met and married his wife, Betty Belton, on June 6, 1948. Their older daughter, Barbara Ann, was born in Thermopolis on November 28, 1949.

Gayle was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers inactive Reserve from 1948 to 1954. He was transferred by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks to work as a Project Engineer on construction of the Naval Ammunition Depot in Hastings, Neb., from 1952 to 1954, where he was in charge of construction of ammunition storage facilities. Their younger daughter, Patricia Jane, was born in Hastings on October 9, 1952.

In 1954 Gayle became a Field Engineer for the Portland Cement Association, where he promoted the use of concrete for street paving, canals, and farm structures in western Nebraska. He moved his family to North Platte, where they resided until he was promoted to statewide Agricultural and Water Resources Engineer and transferred to Lincoln in 1962. When PCA was downsized in 1971 and Gayle's job was eliminated, he accepted a position as Chief of the Solid Waste Division of the Nebraska Dept. of Environmental Control. In 1972 he became Chief of the Planning Division for the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, and in 1979 he transferred to the state Department of Health to work as a Public Health Engineer.

Both Gayle and Betty were actively involved in the National Society of Professional Engineers for many years.

Gayle was a member of the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers since 1959. The various offices he held included: Western Chapter President, 1960; State Director and State Chairman of PEG, 1972; State President, 1972 to 1973; and Member, State Board of Directors, 1971 to 1987.

Gayle and Betty both retired in 1987 and moved to Encinitas, Calif., in 1989, where their daughter Patricia resides. They enjoyed an active lifestyle in a retirement community there for 20 years before moving to an assisted living facility in San Marcos in 2009.

Survivors include his daughter, Patricia J. Lewis of Encinitas, Calif.; grandchildren, Scott W. Evans of Littleton, Colo., and Thomas L. Evans of Conifer, Colo.; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Betty B. Lewis; and daughter, Barbara A. Evans.

Memorial services are pending for early August.


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