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1951 David 2023

David Allan Lewis

February 25, 1951 — September 28, 2023


David Allan Lewis (Dave), 72, was born February 25, 1951 in Cleveland, Ohio into the loving family of Allan and Ann Lewis and his sister Carol.  He grew up in Euclid, Ohio and, as his father was a pastor and then president of a mission organization, he had many memories of fascinating stories, laughter, and wonderful hospitality on Sunday afternoons around their dining room table as his parents hosted missionaries and speakers from all over the world.

Dave attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois from 1969 – 1973 majoring in Biblical Studies.  He then went on to study for his Master's Degree in New Testament Theology, but took a year off to move to Buena Vista, CO, to woo and marry Jan Thoreen, his wife of 49 years. 

Dave excelled at sports and played high school football and basketball, going on to play college football.  During college he helped lead the Young Life Club (a Christian ministry to middle and high school students) at Naperville, IL High School, and in 1971 came to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista as a counselor.  On his first day there he met his future wife Jan at the Silver Heel Snack Bar.  They didn’t get together to explore their future until 2 years later, but then it was a quick romance and they were engaged on New Years Day, 1974.

On April 13, 1974 they had the first wedding held at Trail West Lodge and spent their first year of marriage living on the Peevler Ranch in a trailer owned by Jan’s parents.  The following January they moved to Wheaton, IL for Dave to complete his Master's Degree.  They stayed there until returning to Buena Vista in 1978 shortly before the birthday of their first child, Kirstin Thoreen.  They spent 3 years living on the Rooks Ranch and, when Kirstin was 3, they built the home in Trail West Village where they raised their family, adding Reuben Allan in 1981 and Haven Ann in 1982.

During those years Dave worked in construction with Paul Wiley and Pickrel Construction.  Then in 1980 he was hired by the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.  He started out as a guard, but quickly progressed and became Physical Plant Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.  He loved the staff and always tried to be available to them in any situation to listen, support, and help.  For this, he was held in high regard.

Dave, along with Jan, was committed to creating places where their family could gather together for holidays, celebrations, and camping.  For that reason, they purchased two mining claims above St. Elmo, the Drummer and the Iron Reef, with the dream of building a cabin for the whole family to enjoy.  While that dream was never fulfilled, Dave loved camping there with the whole family together, hiking and exploring all over the mining claims, and creating a place to make memories for his grandchildren.

In 2011 Dave and Jan decided to create a new dream of Dave’s by building a farm north of town where he could raise ducks and chickens and have a large garden.  Jan and their son Driz designed a new home and Dave was able to live out this new adventure, raising Scottish Highland cows, hogs, and goats along with his birds, until his declining health made it too difficult.

He was diagnosed with severe scoliosis in 2016 and Lewy Body Dementia in 2017 and it became increasingly difficult to travel or have a normal life.  But he and Jan were able to take one final trip, a river cruise in Europe in May, 2018.  In June of 2019 they moved to Cortez, CO, to live near their daughter Kirstin and her family for more support.

Dave is remembered for his uproarious sense of humor and for telling a good joke; for hunting and fishing the mountains, rivers, and streams of Colorado with his friends; and for gardening.  During retirement, his favorite places to visit were Alaska and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, where he had great adventures with Jan and his family.

Dave’s goal in life was always to glorify God and walk humbly with Him.  He didn’t do it perfectly, but it was his heart’s desire since he gave his life to Christ as a child.  He had a great impact on all those who knew him and he leaves a legacy of laughter, fun, hard work, responsibility, and dedication to family. 

He is survived by his wife, Jan Thoreen Lewis, his children and sons-in-law Kirstin and Jason Howell of Cortez, CO; Drisya Vilaya (formerly Reuben Lewis) of Crested Butte; Haven and Matt Halk of Price, UT; and his beloved grandchildren in whom he took the greatest delight – Thorin and Beren Howell; and Evie, Coral, Ginny, and Amin Halk.  The stories of his life will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.

Dave’s celebration of life will be on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Trail West Lodge, Buena Vista, CO at 10:00 a.m. with a reception to follow.

Memorial contributions can be made to Young Life ministry at: Designate gifts to: Montezuma County Young Life – code CO219

To order memorial trees in memory of David Allan Lewis, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Trail West - A Young Life Camp

18800 Trail W Dr, Buena Vista, CO 81211

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