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For week ended November 14, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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LDS Poet-Inventor Offers Sight-- And Insight

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 appreciation."

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 behind me."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information