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Memorable Manitobans: Claydean Virgil “Clay” Lewis (1929-2018)

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Claydean Virgil Lewis
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Social worker.

Born at Memphis, Tennessee on 18 September 1929, one of 13 children of Arthur and Freda Lewis, he lived near to Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. He came to Winnipeg in 1948 and worked as a porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. A year later, he went to Morehouse University to complete a BA degree in Administrations and Psychology. Drafted into the US Army in 1951, he served in the Korean War (1951-1953) as a Master Sergeant in the Heavy Tank Corps of the 15th Infantry Regiment, receiving the Bronze Cross and Silver Star for heroism. After his military discharge, he returned to Winnipeg and the CPR before attending the University of Michigan in the mid-1950s to obtain Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees. Returning again to Winnipeg, he left the CPR in 1974 to become Supervisor of Social Services at the Rehab Hospital. He was the first social worker to deliver Meals on Wheels. In 1972, in partnership with John Rodgers, he founded the Main Street Project, serving as its Assistant Director until retirement in 2002. He was an arbitrator for Corrections Canada and served on the boards for several social organizations. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). He died at Winnipeg on 21 January 2018.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 January 2018.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 January 2018.

We thank Colleen Vanasse and Jill Buffie for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 July 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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