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Merced Sun Star
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2000

Former Sun-Star society editor dies at 90

Leona Lewis, former society editor for the Merced Sun-Star, died Sept. 17 in Oregon.

Lewis was born May 5, 1910 in Merced Women’s Hospital, now known as the Greenbrier House. Her parents were Robert Carr, a general store owner from Kentucky, and Bessie Clow Carr, a LeGrand native.

Lewis lived in LeGrand as a child, where she attended school. She was an accomplished pianist, playing for the local Methodist church at 9 years of age.

Lewis married Wade Turner, a forest ranger in Yosemite, and they had two children, Norma and David. After the marriage broke up, Lewis returned home to LeGrand, where she went to work for the local newspaper, the LeGrand Advocate. She also worked for the Mariposa Gazette, which was the beginning of a long career in the newspaper business.

Lewis was married for 13 years to Paul Kopf, and the couple worked for many years at the Green Frog Grocery in Merced. During that time, she was a member of the Professional Women’s Club, the Music Study Group, and the Community Concert Series. She also taught piano lessons during that time. After her divorce from Kopf, she met and married Warren Lewis in 1957. Warren Lewis was a musician who had played lead trumpet with Horace Heidt’s Band during the 1940's. The couple moved to Southern /California in 1964, and Lewis returned tot he newspaper business as managing editor of the Tujunga Record Ledger.

In 1970, the couple returned to Merced when Lewis accepted the position of society editor at the Merced Sun-Star, and her husband was hired as a staff photographer and feature writer. She was active in the Camera Club, Antiques Study Group and Soroptimist International of Merced, which she served as president. Lewis worked at the Merced Sun-Star until her retirement in 1986. During her tenure at the Sun-Star, Lewis won many awards for feature articles, including the American Heart Association Award.

Lewis husband died in 1979, and she married Donald Fuller of Ceres in 1986. “She was a strong woman,” said her daughter Norma Richland, “and I hope that I, my daughter and my granddaughters can continue her legacy.”

Survivors include her daughter, Norma Richland of Oregon; a son, David Kopf of Tujunga; a stepson, Douglas Lewis of Michigan; her sister, Doris McBurney of Anchorage, Alaska; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. in Plainsburg Cemetery, where Lewis will be buried next to her husband, Warren.

The Rev. Dave McGurk of Central Presbyterian Church will officiate. A gathering of friends will be held at the American Legion Hall on LeGrand Road in LeGrand immediately after the service.