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John Davis Lewis, Jr
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Birth: Jul. 7, 1919
Indianapolis
Marion County
Indiana, USA
Death: Feb. 17, 2007
Goldsboro
Wayne County
North Carolina, USA

J. D.'s family moved to Raleigh in 1923, and he grew up on Bloodworth Street near Shaw University. A football and track star at Washington High School, he went on to graduate with honors from Morehouse College in Atlanta, his father's alma mater. He met his future wife while working at a Raleigh convenience store after graduation. He also worked for his father in the insurance business. During World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt integrated the Marines, Lewis was one of the first 200 black men accepted. He became a "Montford Point Marine," named for the swampy area where he and his fellow African Americans were stationed, separated from the whites at nearby Camp Lejeune. Lewis was assigned to teach fundamental electricity and radio physics to members of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. He was later deployed to the Marshall Islands, where his outfit tracked Japanese movement. When he came home in 1947, he set up a radio and TV repair business and built a mobile public-address system. He drove through Raleigh neighborhoods in a mobile sound truck and announced local Negro League baseball games. He also did play-by-play at the games. Fred Fletcher, Capitol Broadcasting's general manager, attended one of those games and spotted Lewis, who went to work as a morning disc jockey at WRAL-AM. Lewis is credited with helping Capitol Broadcasting get an FCC license for its television station in 1957. And Jim Goodmon, Capitol Broadcasting's president and CEO, hired Lewis as the company's first human resources director in 1974. J.D. was a gentleman with a kind spirit who really loved young people. A new employee would come in the company, and John would make sure that young employee did well. His interest in young people wasn't limited to company business. When he retired, he declined a traditional gift and asked that the money instead be directed to his favorite charity, the Garner Road YMCA. Capitol Broadcasting's A.J. Fletcher Foundation provided $100,000 in seed money for a multi-purpose center that opened in 2005. Lewis, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, was unable to attend the dedication ceremony. In April 2000, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People presented Lewis with the Humanitarian of the Year Award. J.D. went to work at WRAL-AM in 1947 as the state's first black radio announcer. He went on to serve as the first human resources director at Capitol Broadcasting Co. and as host of "Teenage Frolics," an "American Bandstand"-style Saturday show on WRAL-TV. He was recently honored as one of the first Triangle Urban League Legend Awards for changing the landscape of the broadcast industry. Mr Lewis died from complications related to pneumonia at age 87. 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Louise Wilson Lewis (1926 - 1999)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Oakwood Cemetery
Raleigh
Wake County
North Carolina, USA
 
Created by: Elizabeth Reed
Record added: Feb 20, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17995862
John Davis Lewis, Jr
Added by: Lynne Rogers
 
John Davis Lewis, Jr
Added by: Anonymous
 
John Davis Lewis, Jr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Amy Robbins-Tjaden
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Elizabeth Reed
 Added: Feb. 20, 2007
 
 
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