John “Thunder” Lewis, Jr.

Age 81, of Lansing, MI, passed away March 22, 2016. He was born May 24, 1934, in Fremont, OH, son of the late John Lewis, Sr. and Blondelle Jackson.

John proudly served in the U.S. Army. He was a graduate of MSU where he played football and caught the winning touchdown in the 1955-56 Rose Bowl game. He served on the board of directors of the Lansing Area Federal Credit Union for 24 years, as well as on the Lansing Fire Board for years. He worked for 44 years at GM in labor relations. John was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Ross High School in Fremont, OH. He was a member of the Delta Lions Club, and was a longstanding member of Trinity A.M.E. Church in Lansing, where he served with the Sons of Allen.

He is survived by his children, Lorna (Lee) McKinstry, John Lewis III, Desiree Lewis, DaLaney Lewis, Derrick J. Lewis and Dante Lewis; 16 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; special niece, Tracy Bulger; special sister-in-law, Moreen K. Jacobs; and a host of nieces, nephews and other extended family members. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria J. Lewis and his sister, Mary Almeda Bulger.

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Trinity A.M.E. Church, 3500 W. Holmes Rd., Lansing. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery. His family will receive friends from 2-8 p.m. on Monday at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to the Delta Lions Club or a charity of one’s choice. Online condolences may be left for John’s family at

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36 Messages to “John “Thunder” Lewis, Jr.

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Dawn & John Couthen Jr
March 24, 2016 at 8:03 am

We are praying that God give your family comfort and strength through this difficult time. John was such a wonderful person. He worked for John in Lansing @ GM. John and I also spent many weekends with John with the little league football. John and I became fast friends. He just drew you to him. I have so many wonderful memories of your Dad and I know you all have many. May those memories bring you peace, give you comfort and make you smile when you think of him. Your Dad was a wonderful person. God Bless your family and carry you through. John & Dawn Couthen Jr.

Jackie Welch
March 24, 2016 at 9:44 am

It has been an honor and a blessing to have known John. He was always very kind and was a true “people person”. All of us at the credit union enjoyed seeing him and talking with him. He will be missed so very much by his LAFCU family. Please know your family will be in my prayers.

Lyle Leatherbery
March 24, 2016 at 11:10 am

My sincere condolences to “Big John’s” family and friends .. John was my Labor Relations contact person at General Motors and was the ultimate professional analysts in contract law ….. General Motors was very lucky to have had such a loyal and dedicated person on their staff …
After retirement we would meet a few times a year at Denny’s for a G.M. “War Story” breakfast and “Big John” was the lead spokesperson with his Biggie Munn/Duffy Daughtery stories about his playing days at Michigan State …. We sure are going to miss his insights and humor… The man was loved by all …..
God Speed old buddy ……

Deborah Sudduth
March 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Des, DaLaney, Derrick, and Dante,

I am praying for you on the loss of your father! May you, your sister Lorna and brother John III find all the comfort and peace God has for you at this difficult time.

Your Dad was a gentle giant! Every time I saw him, he always greeted me with a smile and a warm hug!

Debbi Sudduth and the Sudduth Family

Damaris And Tim Sabo
March 24, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I Damaris, grew up in the same neighborhood as John III and Lorna. Our condolences to both of you. We love you like family and hurt for you like family. You will always have a special place in the hearts of the Robles family. We will never forget you. We pray for you especially during this time of grief.

Gene & Mary O'CONNOR
March 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Our condolences to John’s family. John was a pleasure to know and we always looked forward to interactions with him. John was well-respected by both management and the union, which is the ultimate compliment for someone who spent his career in labor relations. We will be forever grateful for the assistance John provided in procuring Rose Bowl tickets for our daughter’s 21st birthday. We regret we will not be able to attend the services, but our thoughts and prayers are with you. You can be very proud of his legacy. Gene and Mary O’Connor

Stephanie Savage
March 24, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Desiree, DaLaney, derrick & Dante,

May the newness of spring and The Resurrection remind you that nothing in Christ dies. but has life and love in abundance. May the Lord keep you all in his warm embrace and you continue the legacy of strength and love that was your dad.

Larry Tissue
March 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm

I am truly saddened by the passing of John, he was a great man. May he rest in peace.

Lynn Quick
March 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Lorna, John an the Lewis family..My deepest sympathy for your loss. Keeping you all in my prayers.

Jim & Sharlene Miers
March 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Desiree, Delaney, Derek and Dante, I hope you remember us. We spent a lot of fun times with your Mom and Dad and you kids when your dad and Jim coached the mighty Jr. Spartans football team many years ago. We are sorry for your loss. We loved both of your folks.

Jim and Sharlene Miers

Don, Geri & Stephanie Coleman
March 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Our sincerest condolences to the Lewis family. John was such a lovely neighbor and a great Spartan. We are so sorry for your loss.

Monica (Hampsher) Heath
March 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Lorna & John, & Family, My deepest sympathy, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jasper Howell
March 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm

Deepest Sympathy to the Lewis Family on the loss of Mr. Lewis
A wonderful man and a true Spartan. God Bless the family.

Dallas/Mae Leake
March 25, 2016 at 7:05 am

Condolences to Lorna, John and the Lewis family. I always enjoyed the opportunity to converse with Mr. Lewis. He was a historian for Fremont and greeted everyone with a smile and handshake. Our thoughts prayers are with you during your time of grief.

Sonny & Joanne Jones
March 25, 2016 at 9:31 am

Lorna and family,
We are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. May your many memories sustain you during this difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sonny & Joanne Jones and the Jones girls (Jody, Laurie, Jada)

Lauralee Wyss
March 25, 2016 at 9:49 am

Lorna and John and the Lewis Family,
I am very sorry for your loss. May you find peace, comfort, and strength in the days to come. Bless your hearts.

Shirley LaBonte
March 25, 2016 at 10:46 am

John and Lorna and family, our prayers and thoughts are with you. may all the wonderful memories make you smile and help you through this difficult time. God has gained another angel. Lots of prayers and hugs.

Eva Robles, Carolina, Puerto Rico
March 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

My deepest sympathy to John, Lorna and all the family. May God’s love and peace cover you ar this time.

Vel Killeen McCarrick
March 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

My deepest sympathy to all the Lewis family. I grew up only knowing John as “Daddy” Lewis. Having a Big hug and A Big smile when he saw me. He will be greatly missed. God Bless.

steve klisz
March 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

sorry for your loss.i got to meet him back in 2012.

Kathy and Ron Stout
March 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Lorna, John and Family,
Our sincerest condolences to all. Prayers for all.

March 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm

All I can say is that I will keep you and your family lifted in my prayers. The short time I knew Mr. Lewis, I knew him to be a kind hearted man; and so it goes- the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Karen Sturdivant for the Calvin E. Sturdivants and the Wesley and Anita Allens (Novi)

Michael Cole - Crompton
March 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm

To the entire Lewis family, my prayers are for you all to be given the strength needed to adjust to this loss, I have been knowing this family from the time we were kids living on Everett Dr. Mr. Lewis is my Christian brother for over 50 years, a real role model for this community. I loved talking to him about the issues of the day when we would see each other. I know one thing, he loved his children and wanted the best for them. This city has loss it’s Thunder.

Lori Lynch
March 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm

I am so very sorry to hear of your families loss. Please let the Good Lord be your strength during this difficult time. Praying for you all. God Bless.

Larry and Sandra Barnes
March 26, 2016 at 10:33 pm

I am a friend of Lorna and John III. So sorry to hear that your dad passed away. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this time.

Monte Huss
March 28, 2016 at 10:45 am

Lorna and John I just heard of the passing of your Father, I sorry for your loss and would like to extend to you and the rest of your Father’s family my deepest sympathy. Not matter how old we are it is always a blow to have our father pass. My prayers are with all of you during this difficult time.

James Flanagan
March 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

LOVE you guys. Big John was like a father to me as you well know! GOD Bless you all and please let me know if I can be of any help at all during this time.

Elder Pam Hairston
March 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm

To Lorna & Lee, your siblings and entire family. It is with sincere love and concern that we offer our condolences in the loss of your father. No matter the circumstance or time, we are never ready to lose someone so near. But remember, God said that He would never leave you nor forsake you. He will provide the strength that you need moment by moment and day by day. I know because I’ve walked ahead of you in this type of situation. I love you and am undergirding you with prayer. Elder Pam Hairston & Son, Brandon

Ralph Riddle, Jr.
March 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

My deepest Condolences on your loss. My Prayers go out to The Family and Friends for Comfort and Healing… This is a Great Loss for any who knew him. He will be Missed.

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Nelson
March 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Mr. Lewis was an awesome neighbor and friend…he always greeted you with a smile or a wave and he will be missed…to his entire family, may you be comforted with your memories of joy and laughter and praying that God will surround you with peace as you all journey forward. God Bless!

Jim and Kathi Rypkema
March 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm

I had the honor and priviledge to work with John on past local contracts for the Lansing site. Both the union and salaried leadership enjoyed the process, as John always led with kindness, respect, and his wry humor.
We have lost a great man. Our deepest sympathies to the Lewis family.

Fran Gallaway
March 28, 2016 at 7:44 pm

I was honored and privileged to have worked with John on several labor relation issues over the years. He always took the issues seriously and worked through with them professionally. Yet his sense of humor always came through. I know I’m a better person to have known him. My condolences to the family. John will be truly missed.

Curtis E Lewis
March 29, 2016 at 9:32 am

John Lewis was a wonderful man. I will be eternally grateful for my mentor. I will keep the Lewis family in my prayers.

Curtis E Lewis
March 29, 2016 at 9:37 am

John Lewis was a wonderful man. I am eternally grateful to have had such a great mentor. I will keep the Lewis family in my prayers.

Jake Boss
March 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

Dante: I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

March 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm



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