Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Poet-Inventor Offers Sight-- And Insight
Salt Lake Tribune 13Nov99 A2
By Tom Wharton: Salt Lake Tribune
PROVO, UTAH -- Life for 82 year old Bro. Walt Lewis didnít turn out as
intended when he began, though he is not at all disappointed.
After serving a mission to South Africa in 1938 and getting a degree in
Accounting and Business Administration, Bro Lewis went into banking like
his brother Ben. However, the Second World War intervened and through
their testing, the military felt that he would be a better engineer.
So, he gave it a try and liked it. After the war he joined his brother
Chris at the Stereo Optical Company, where he worked until 1979, showing
great flare as an inventor, though he never intended to be such.
As it turns out Bro. Lewis is a reticent hero whose inventions play
roles in our everyday lives. Anyone who has taken an eye examination at
school or while getting a driver's license has used a machine like the
one he perfected for his company. He also invented a retina scope and a
device that tests children for lazy-eye syndrome.
After retiring, Bro. Lewis and his nephew Greg Wilson developed a
plastic mold that helped transform Utah County-based Mity Lite into one
of the world's most successful table manufacturers. He still likes to
come up with ideas for inventions as a hobby. According to Bro. Lewis,
"The pleasures of life come in creating, not spending.î
His daughter Tamara, a medical administrator in Salt Lake City, calls
her father a workaholic who usually worked from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. six
days a week. Still, she says he made time for his four children, three
of whom have medical degrees and one who is an engineer. "He was always
there, sitting and reading," says Tamara. "He was interested in what you
wanted to talk about. It's hard not to excel when your parents tell you
how wonderful you are. They expected the best. We felt that
Though his wife passed away this year, this slender white-haired man who
is an avid reader and loves poetry, rises six days a week at 5:10 a.m.
to play tennis and racquetball, often adding a swim. "Psychologically,
that leaves me feeling that I have my whole [life] ahead of me and not