Longtime trainer-driver Samuel "Skip" Lewis died Friday morning, July 18, after a brief illness. He was 82.
Mr. Lewis spent his pre-teen years in Kingston, Pa., and later at Patterson, N.J., where his parents operated a chicken farm. At 12 he began working as a part-time groom at Willow Brook Farm and later, in 1945, at Roosevelt. He served under Bill Fleming and Charlie Fitzpatrick before starting out on his own in 1963.
In early January a fire wiped out Mr. Lewis's entire stable. Since he was winter training at Ben White Raceway in Florida, he purchased a nearby farm.
Mr. Lewis trained the 1981 Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year Seahawk Hanover, whose 11 wins that season included the Messenger at Roosevelt Raceway, the Prix d'Ete at Blue Bonnets Raceway, and the William Miller Memorial at Rosecroft Raceway. Seahawk Hanover took a mark that year of 1:55.2 and retired with more than $675,000 in earnings. Mr. Lewis trained also trained 1984 Hambletonian winner Historic Freight,
Mr. Lewis also trained such other major winners such as Walter Be Good, Jaunty Barmin, Iris Barmin and Winthrop Lobell.
Mr. Lewis is survived by his loving wife, Lillian; children, Karen Lewis New, Donald P. and Michael G.; grandchildren, Brenton M. New and Marc Akther; sister, Marylin Maxwell; and brother, Howard.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July25 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 834 South Highway 441, Apopka, Fla. 32703.