Larry F. Lewis, 85, of Quincy and formerly of Ursa, passed away peacefully at 12:45 pm on Sunday, May 28, 2023, at the Good Samaritan Home in Quincy.
He was born on February 15, 1938, in Quincy, the son of the late Frank William & Imogene Harriet (Smith) Lewis. Larry attended Hughes & Ursa grade schools, Unity High School and graduated from Quincy Senior High in 1956. Upon graduation, Larry attended the University of Illinois where he was an active member of Acacia fraternity, Field & Furrow agronomy club, Marching Illini and the varsity Men’s Glee Club that performed at the 1958 Brussels Worlds Fair. After graduating in 1960, Larry returned to pursue graduate studies. His dedicated support of the University of Illinois continued with many homecoming appearances in the Marching Illini Alumni band.
Larry married Nancy Wilson on December 18, 1960 and they were blessed with two children; Scott & Shawn. In 1961, he joined his father in the seed business, adding Lewis Hybrid Seed Corn to the Lewis Seed Company portfolio. He grew Lewis Hybrids seed sales and built the Lewis brand to over 100 dealers in five states. Larry was a visionary leader for Lewis Brands until his retirement in 2007. Larry traveled extensively to oversee contra seasonal seed production and quality assurance work in Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, Chile and Mexico.
The seed and soybean industry were Larry’s passion in life. Larry was a board member and past president of Illinois Crop Improvement Association and Illinois Foundation Seeds. He served on multiple committee assignments in the American Seed Trade Association and Regional Vice President and President of the soybean division. Larry served as an Executive board member with the Independent Seedsman’s Association. He served on the initial Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board and following in his father’s footsteps with his active participation in the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board. This passion culminated with an Illinois gubernatorial appointment to the National Council for Food and Agricultural Research.
Larry was an active member of his community. Some of his diligent work included the addition of the Ursa Town Hall to the national registry. He was a member of the Ursa Lions Club with over 50 years of membership with Lions International. Larry served as District Governor in 2012-2013 and traveled to South Korea. He was a faithful lifetime member of the Ursa Christian Church and served for 21 years as the church choir director where he lead Christmas Cantatas. Larry loved music and shared his talent locally as part of the symphony chorus. One of Larry’s proudest achievements was his role as Daddy Warbucks in the Quincy Community Theatre’s production of Annie.
Larry was an active member of the Mendon Masonic Lodge #449, the Quincy Consistory, Ansar Shrine, High Twelve, Great River Jazz Society and the Quincy Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee.
Larry and Nona Long spent many of Larry’s later years together driving his Model A car and truck in parades enjoying big band, classical and Dixieland jazz, ballroom dancing and attending theater performances. Larry was a lifetime St Louis Cardinal fan and enjoyed attending and watching many games.
He is survived by two sons; Scott (Julie) Lewis of Ursa and Shawn (Shaila) Lewis of Ursa, grandchildren; Nicole (Spencer) Allen of Champaign, Lauren (Bryan) Bickett of Morganfield, Kentucky, Kyle Lewis of Belleville, Illinois , Annika Lewis of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Grayson & Ellie Lewis of Ursa, great grandchildren; Adalyn & Avery Allen. In addition to his parents and his former wife, Larry was preceded in death by his life companion and special friend; Nona Long, who was like a second mother to many in Larry’s family.
Funeral services honoring Larry’s life will be conducted at 10:00 am on Thursday, June 1, 2023, at the Ursa Christian Church. Pastor Bill Mitchell will officiate. Interment will follow at the New Providence Cemetery in Ursa. Visitation will be held from 5:00 until 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at the Triplett Funeral Home of Mendon. Masonic rites will be accorded by the Mendon Lodge #449 immediately following the visitation. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Larry are suggested to the Ursa Christian Church, The Good Samaritan Home of Quincy or to The Quincy Community Theatre. You are invited to share your memories of Larry and leave a condolence at www.triplettfuneralhomes.com