Richard Lewis, TJHS Class of 1947 Honored at Wrestling Event
Richard Harry Lewis was born on September 19, 1929 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Rich was a 1947 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School. After high school Rich attended Iowa Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) where he wrestled until joining the Navy. He is a retired Navy Chief with 22 years of service.
Rich was a star wrestler at TJ during his high school years. He placed 2nd at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament his junior year and 3rd his senior year. He was actually too light to wrestle at the state tournament his first two years of high school. Rich wrestled for legendary head coach Orville Orr and was twice named the Orville Orr Trophy recipient.
Rich wrestled for Iowa Teachers College during the 1947-48 season before entering the US Navy. Richard was a critical factor in legendary TJ wrestler Bill Smith attending Iowa Teacher College. Rich and Bill were good friends and the coach at Iowa Teachers College at the time wanted Lewis so he agreed to give future Olympic gold medalist Bill Smith a tryout.
During his time in the Navy, Rich continued to wrestle. He won three Midwest AAU titles over a 10 year period from 1947-1957 and he was a United States Olympic alternate during this time as well.
Richard Lewis currently lives in Iowa City with his wife, Joan (formerly Joan Lindsey), also a 1947 TJ graduate. They were married 18 years ago after reconnecting at TJ reunions over the years.
They were in the same classes since the age of 4 years, and they are side by side in all the yearbooks from high school due to their names being next to each other alphabetically. Joan and Rich were active in many TJ activities during their high school years.