In Memoriam: Deborah B. Lewis
Known for her generous spirit and warm smile, Deborah B. Lewis was a shining example of outstanding service to Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout her entire career she provided extraordinary support and left a memorable impact in her path.
On Feb. 21, Lewis passed away after suffering from an illness for the past several months. Affectionately known as “Little Debbie,” Lewis had served in various administrative staff positions at the VCU School of Nursing for 15 years before retiring as assistant building manager in fall 2013.
A native of Richmond, Va., Lewis grew up in the Fan District and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. She began her career as a state employee 43 years ago working as part of the support staff for the General Educational Development (GED) Program at the State Board of Education. In 1973, she joined the support staff of the Pediatric Surgery and Burn/Plastic Programs at the VCU Medical Center.
Lewis moved over to the academic side of VCU in 1980 when she became part of the support staff for the assistant dean of students at the School of Pharmacy. Her career at VCU also includes serving on the support staff for the assistant director of development at the School of Medicine. She joined the School of Nursing as an administrative professional to the assistant dean for administration and the director of development in 1998.
At the School of Nursing, Lewis was known for her willingness to always extend a helping hand to all who crossed her path. Because of her infectious enthusiasm and efforts to go above and beyond in providing assistance, Lewis received the School of Nursing’s Staff Excellence Award in July 2011.
In her spare time, Lewis was a founding member of the Virginia Square and Round Dance Association, where she coordinated three of the group’s dance festivals and supervised volunteers. Many of her VCU colleagues fondly recall how her face would just light up when she talked about her love of dancing.
Her positive outlook and kindness will be missed greatly by the School of Nursing faculty, staff, students, alumni and all who knew her.
Debbie Lewis is survived by her brother, John Lewis of Richmond, Va.; her niece, Jacqueline Wallace, and her husband Jonathan Wallace of Northern Virginia; and her nephew, John Lewis, and his wife Rhonda of Mechanicsville, Va. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Mar. 1 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church located at 8706 Quaker Lane in Bon Air, Va.