Lewis Fudge, 64, of Mattawan, died Sunday, June 26, 2011, at White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton. Â He was born July 31, 1946, in Traverse City, and graduated from Traverse City High School in 1965. Â Lew had been a resident of Mattawan since 1989, where he was active in the community, serving on the school board and running the school auditorium, and he was a member of the Mattawan Lions Club.
Lew Fudge was a very unassuming and compassionate man. He was calm and caring, quick-witted and easy-going. His relaxed personality and even disposition made him the foundation among both his family and his friends. His nature and personality drew others to him, especially kids, who felt valued and understood by him. He had a wonderful family, devoted friends, meaningful work and position in his community. Whether pounding out big community projects or just puttering around the house, Lewâ€™s happiness was evident and infectious to those around him.
Lew was the youngest child of Walter and Genevieve (Walter) Fudge, born July 31, 1946 in Traverse City, Michigan. Growing up in beautiful northern Michigan, Lew quite naturally became an avid outdoorsman and animal lover. He even chose which college to attend based on how near he could be to outdoor recreation. Lew later took up photography, with his children, and natural settings his primary material of choice. His eye for scenery pictures was outstanding and his photos adorn the walls of many of the familyâ€™s houses.
After graduating from Traverse City High School in 1965, Lew earned an associateâ€™s degree from Northwestern Michigan Community College in 1968. Then in 1969, he made one of his best choices in life: he married Mary Ann Moran. The two of them had been best friends since high school, and their marriage on June 28th in Traverse City sealed their lifelong love and commitment. Because Lew wanted to complete a degree in criminal justice, he and Mary headed to Montana State University, in part, because it promised him plenty of opportunity to hunt and fish. Yet even with a degree in hand, he wasnâ€™t able to find work in criminal justice. He returned to a job with the state of Michigan that he had before he and Mary went to Montana. He thoroughly enjoyed his work with the Department of Transportation, working in several offices across the state, eventually in the Kalamazoo regional office, and he was a valued servant of the state for 35 years.
Lew also made fatherhood a lifelong career. His son Brian was born in 1975 and his daughter Cheryl in1978, and from day one, they experienced a totally invested dad. During the early years, Lew helped Brian in his scouting endeavorsâ€”all the way to Eagle Scoutâ€”and he accompanied Cheryl to her music classes and many other activities. Later on, he worked with Brian at the Mattawan High School auditorium and not only enjoyed time with his son but also being with other students. Lew considered those long hours on weekday evenings and at weekend events as pure joy, because he loved being with the kids.
Lew was thoroughly excited upon the arrival of grandchildren. Carter and Ariana were completely smitten with their â€śPaPaâ€ť. They often asked for him by name, and asked to call him so that they could talk to him. When he was out to visit, the children would sit on the floor and share ice cream with him. A favorite past time for all of them!
Hand in hand in with Mary, Lew raised his children with strong moral character. Together they formed a bond of trust that let the kids know exactly where they stood. Leading by example, Lew taught his children to do the right thing, and they in turn, passed on those values to their children. Lew was positive and patient, thoughtful and kind, treating everyone equally and with respect. Lew had a great sense of humor and believed in the power of laughter. As a result, his nieces and nephews were smitten with him, and his grandchildren absolutely loved their Papa.
Though his family was his priority, Lew was very active in all the towns where he lived. He was
Emergency Medical Technician and fire fighter with Hagar Township, and later served on the Hagar Township Board as both trustee and clerk. Since becoming a Mattawan resident in 1989, he served on the Mattawan Lions Club, the Mattawan School Board, and he ran the Mattawan Schools Auditorium. Over the years, he made many friends and was influential in the life of his community.
Sadly, Lew was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimerâ€™s disease in 2006. Since Christmas 2010, his health declined significantly. His last months were spent at White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton, Michigan, where he died on Sunday, June 26, 2011.
Lewâ€™s life of 64 years touched so many other lives that he will be sorely missed and dearly remembered by all as a man of integrity and faith, gentleness and joy.
Members of Lewis Fudgeâ€™s family include his wife Mary, a son Brian (Denise) Fudge of Middletown CT, a daughter Cheryl Fudge of Royal Oak, MI, a brother Robert (Eloina) Fudge of South Padre Island, TX and 2 grandchildren: Carter and Ariana.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday 11:00 AM at St. John Bosco Church in Mattawan. Burial was Thursday at 1 PM in the St. Mary's of the Woods Cemetery in Kalkaska, MI
Please visit Lewisâ€™s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you will find archives of favorite memories, photos and his online guest book. Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Mattawan Public Schools Scholarship Foundation.