Sunday, April 4. 2010
One of the best qualities of Rolling Thunder is that we are family. And as a family we are learning that some of our greatest challenges have nothing to do with the robot or with the competition. It has to do with life.
In and through our week before Boston and and continuing through this week, our team has had an underlying story, one that makes me especially proud of the mentors and adult leaders. We operated the last week before the regional without our team leader, Larry. His dad became gravely ill and Larry was called home (Connecticut). His fiancée, Leann, who does our Chairman’s prep was our only contact with him, stayed here in NY. We made a call to keep it very low key for the students since the expend so much energy to prepare for competition and to get ahead on school work, that we knew we didn’t need to add to that burden. The final preparation meetings and the mandatory travel meeting were held, the final packing and trip prep and all that stuff was done without Larry. Mentors and teachers just kept taking pieces of the work to be done and making it sure it was done. I’m sure most of the team members didn’t even notice a real difference as great care was taken to not make it a big deal.
Larry stayed with his family until the Wednesday before Boston. Leann picked Larry up on Wednesday evening as the caravan passed close by the exit to his hometown. The adults continued to encourage and do things to take the load from Larry, but made sure he had full reign as team leader (which has been an important part of ensuring the successful transition from Kim to Larry). The kids just loved him and accepted his leadership which has also been the whole hallmark of this season for us. (If you want to know how to adapt to change, watch a teenager – we as adults learned much from their ability to adapt.)
Saturday, after all of the celebrations, Larry returned to his family. His parent’s wedding anniversary was Sunday, and Larry’s dad died late that night. So this past week, instead of having a chance to celebrate with the team at our meeting, Larry was making those final preparations. He has shown great strength of character and I am very much impressed with him. We can’t wait to get him back to let him know once again how much he means to the team.
Lawrence Paul Lewis
KENT — Lawrence Paul Lewis, 63, of Kent, died March 28, 2010, at New Milford Hospital, surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Virginia (Mills) Lewis.
Born Oct. 23, 1946, and raised in Wilton, he was the son of the late Lurina (Nickless) and Norman Lewis.
As a youngster, he developed a love for fishing. He always enjoyed being with family and friends, and making new friends. He was known for his gift of being able to hold a conversation with anyone he met.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was a life member of the VFW.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Lawrence Paul Lewis Jr. and his fiancée, Leann Bartomioli of Rochester, N.Y.; a sister and brother-in-law, Charlene and Roger Genest of Kimberling, Mo.; a brother-in-law, Gary Lorentson of Brookfield, Conn.; four nieces, Tammy Ricchezza and her husband, Mike, of Waterbury, Jammie Genest of Naugatuck, Alyssa Lorentson of Brooklyn, Conn., and Polly Fife and her husband, Kevin, of Northfield, N.H.; a nephew, Clifton Mills III and his wife, Beth, of Fort Drum, N.Y.; a brother-in-law, Clifton Mills of Northfield; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was predeceased by a sister, Melissa Lorentson.
Services will be held at Lillis Funeral Home in New Milford on Monday, April 5. Calling hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. The service will begin at 7 p.m. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.
The family welcomes on-line condolences, which may be posted at obituariestoday.com.
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