April 14, 1941 – October 11, 2023
The Villages, Florida – Colonel (Ret) L Kirk Lewis, age 82, passed away peacefully on October 11, 2023. Kirk’s beloved wife Dianne Lewis [Olson] was by his bedside. Kirk was born on April 14, 1941, in Seattle, Washington, and was the son of the late Fred and Mary Louise Lewis. Kirk was a devoted husband, loving brother, and caring uncle. He willingly shared his time and talents with others and made lifelong friendships. He loved this country, his family, and his friends.
Kirk is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dianne Lewis (Olson), and his sisters, Kristi Mainwaring and Monica Mellroth. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews. Kirk was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, Kathy and Juanita.
Kirk began his educational journey by attending grade school in North Bend, Washington and Mt Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington. He enrolled into Washington State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa. Later, he continued his education at Kansas State University, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Systems Research Analysis and Industrial Engineering.
Kirk’s dedication to his country led him to serve in the United States Army for 27 years. After basic training, he entered Officer Candidate School and was the honor graduate of his class. In 1967, he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. In 1972, he reported to Vietnam where he joined the 1st Aviation Brigade. Kirk flew numerous combat missions earning ten Air Medals, the Bronze Star, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. From 1984 to 1986, he commanded the 3rd Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment (Pershing) at Ft Sill, Oklahoma. Colonel Lewis continued his military career at the National War College in Washington, DC where he served as a member of the faculty and as the Executive Office. Colonel Lewis concluded his military serves at the State Department. At the State Department, Colonel Lewis served as Deputy for Ambassador Edward Rowny and assisted the Ambassador with arms control negotiations. Colonel Lewis’s military education included the Field Artillery Advanced Course, the Perishing Missile Officers Course, Army Command and General Staff College, and the Senior Service College Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. His honors and memberships include induction into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, founding member of Pershing Professionals, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Upon retirement, Kirk joined the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA). At IDA, Kirk served as Executive Director and consultant for numerous national defense and homeland security assessment panels and boards. He led the Defense Science Board GPS study group, the GPS Independent Review Team, the US Air Force Space Command Independent Strategic Assessment Group, the US Air Force Space and Missile Center Program Assessment Group, and US Air Force Research Laboratory Independent Strategic Assessment Group.
Kirk’s passions were flying, biking, skiing, and traveling. He was a generous soul and willingly shared his passion with everyone. Kirk Lewis will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. His dedication to our nation and his legacy of love and kindness to family and friends will be cherished forever.
Kirk will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, at a date to be determined. Following the graveside serve, a reception will follow. The Heirs-Baxley Funeral Home in The Villages, Florida, and Metropolitan Funeral Services in Alexandria, Virginia, are assisting the family with the arrangements.