It is with great sadness that the Willowvale Fire Company announces the passing of Charter Member Lewis H. “Lewie” Smith. Lewie was just five months away from his 100th birthday. Having operated the L.H. Smith & Sons Service Station at the Washington Mills four corners for many years, Lewie was very revered in the community and was known by most as the “Mayor of Washington Mills.”
As a member of the former Willowvale Fire Company #1, Lewie was one of the founding members of what is now the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc. when it was created on March 16, 1950. In addition to serving as a firefighter, Lewie operated the ladder truck that was once housed in the former Washington Mills station and served in multiple capacities with the Fire Company. Lewie was a member of the Board of Directors from 1963-1968 and again for several years in the 1980’s. He was Fire Police Captain from 1968-1970 and then served as Vice President from 1970-1976. In 1980, Lewie brought up the idea of installing a Home Alert System. This system would later be implemented and used to alert firefighters of emergency calls, rather than having to rely solely on the fire whistle. The home alert channel is still in use today. Lewie was also a recipient of the “Iron Man Award” and in 1996, Lewie was officially recognized as a Charter Member and was awarded a watch during the annual meeting.
In addition to serving his community, Lewie also served the country he loved so very much. Lewie was a Staff Sergeant with the U.S. Army Air Corps and operated as a Nose Gunner on a B-24 Liberator in the South Pacific during World War II.
Lewie’s legacy lives on with the Fire Company through his sons Bill and Tom, who are both active firefighters and members of the Board of Directors. We thank you, Mr. Smith, for your many decades of service and dedication to the residents of the Willowvale Fire District. Rest in peace, Sir.