Lewis was born on March 23, 1920, in Mineral Springs, Ark., to William Richard Roberts and Mary Florence Arnold Roberts. He married the love of his life on July 5, 1943. He always said “I grew up in Brinkman, graduated from Brinkman, and married a Brinkman girl, Germa Lee Brinkman (granddaughter to the founder of Brinkman, Oklahoma.). Germa Lee passed away on March 4, 1972 after being married for almost 49 years.
Lewis became a hero to his family when he was only eight years old. The family left Arkansas to move to Oklahoma in the family car and a fully loaded trailer. His dad got out to check things, and the car started rolling backwards. Lewis, the family hero, also known as Tinker, pulled the hand brake and stopped the catastrophe waiting to happen. Lewis was known as Tinker because as a baby he was always so inquisitive and tinkering with everything. His heroic character remained consistent through his life. As a young teenager his dad had taught him how to plow, plant and take care of farm animals. He was the oldest son left at home, when his father’s health declined and he died in 1938. While he was still in school, he worked as a janitor at school and church, did any farming jobs his neighbors had available, and did summer wheat harvests. Lewis also joined the National Guard while still in high school. In school Lewis enjoyed playing baseball and participated in all school activities, including dramas and Future Farmers of America. He always had projects including livestock judging, and showing pigs at the county fair and then on to the state fair. He graduated from Brinkman High School in 1939 and enrolled at Southwestern State Teachers College in Weatherford studying business and accounting. While attending college the Guard was nationalized, and he was inducted into the Army for one year on Sept. 16, 1940, along with his 158th Field Artillery Unit (part of the 45th National Guard Division) at Southwestern. However, his active duty was extended for the duration of the war which for him was Sept. 21, 1945. His induction orders sent him to Ft. Sill. He was authorized leave in December 1941 and was home planning his wedding with his fiance, when he was ordered back to base due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thinking the next target of Japan would be the Panama Canal, he was reassigned to the 207th Field Artillery Battalion and placed on shipping alert. He served and trained for 18 months in the rugged Panama jungles. After coming back to the U.S., Lewis was deployed to Europe and served the remaining part of the war in the European theatre traveling thru France, Belgium and into Germany. Experiencing all the horrors of war, he fought in five major battles. Lewis was a communication specialist laying communication lines for orders from central command to the advance heavy artillery. At one point, a shelled out basement where he had set up communications was bombed, and he was buried for three days and nights. Lewis was truly part of the greatest generation.
After the war he enjoyed farming, owned a cafe and later a laundry. In 1956, he went to work as a civil engineer at Altus Air Force Base. He worked as a fuel specialist and retired in 1980 as a USAF Certified Fuel Tank Cleaning Safety Supervisor. He retired at 62 from the air base, and continued an air conditioning business he had started years before. L.P. retired again at age 85. He was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church and served as a deacon from 1980 until 2004. God was always the center and focus of Lewis’s life. He loved hunting, reading, woodworking, building furniture, and sports, especially OU football.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; a daughter, Sharron; two brothers, John and Bill Roberts; and two sisters, Florence Berry and Betty Lou Spruce.
Survivors include a daughter, Nancy Webb and husband David of Lamesa, Texas; a son-in-law, Gary Higgs of Oklahoma City; five grandchildren, Kevin Higgs and wife Jennifer of Oklahoma City, Kyle Higgs and wife Jacki of New York City, Chris Webb and wife Melissa of Denver, Marc Webb of Austin, Texas, and Somer Webb of Dallas; five great-grandchildren, Ethan, Boston, Calli, Camryn and Drake; a brother, Alvin Roberts and wife Margie of Oklahoma City; two sisters, Judy Tarnow of Oklahoma City, and Bertha Mae Britton of Palm Springs, Calif.; and many other nieces and nephews.
Additional parking for the funeral Friday is available in Kincannon’s back parking lot, Best Western Hotel to the South and Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse to the North.
Online tributes may be made at kincannonfuneralhome.com