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Elizanne Lewis, 97, passed away on May 6, 2017, peacefully in her sleep after a brief illness, with family by her side. She was born on March 28, 1920, in East Moline, Illinois, and was a lifelong resident of Rockford.
Elizanne was an intrepid and fascinating woman, devoted to her family, committed to the community, and devouring new ideas. She had boundless curiosity and creativity, and never met a challenge she wouldn't face head-on. Like ripples in a pond, virtually everyone who met her was impacted in a positive and memorable way, as she inspired people to the greater good, to learn more, and to lead by example.
Her favorite mantra was that "when two minds meet, an idea is born," and she was fascinated by the development of the brain. With children (and adults), it was always "that's a good question; let's go look it up." In the 1950s, she theorized a geometric progression of major developments in the history of the Earth, researched the matter, and painted a visual history in progressive timelines (on the living room curtains!). She was a lifelong Girl Scout, one of the earliest Golden Eaglets in 1937, was President of the Council in the 1960s, and believed that the "mission critical" of Girl Scouting was to teach girls group decision-making skills and self-sufficiency. She also believed deeply in the freedom of thought of the Unitarian Church and the power of the vote as promoted by the League of Women Voters. She and her husband, Walt, lived in Europe from 1969-1974, and she travelled extensively into her late 80s. She was an accomplished welder of art, seamstress, gardener, wine-maker, and adventurous cook. Having lived 80 years alongside the Rock River, she shared her memories with the Rock River Homeowners Association in a column "Musings of a River Rat."
She was preceded in death by her parents, Hans and Theresia Hanitz; her husband, H. Walter Lewis; her sister, Rhoda Snedecor; and her sister- and brother-in-law, Ruth and Albert Brunell. She is survived by her three children, Stephen (Pat) Lewis of Rockford; Gordon (Jo) Lewis of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Jacki Lewis (Dick Adduci) of Eagle, Wisconsin. Elizanne was very proud and fond of her grandchildren: Jason (Genny Erb) Lewis of Chicago; Matthew (Liz) Lewis of Anderson, South Caroline; Kathleen (Matthew) DeWitt of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Anne Lewis of Grand Rapids Michigan; and Alexander Adduci of Pembroke, Georgia. Lately, she thoroughly enjoyed her four great-granddaughters: Elliott and Meriel Lewis of Anderson, South Carolina; and Ila and Elizanne Lewis of Chicago. She stayed in very close contact with all her nieces and nephews, and, believing that all family is special, she embraced the addition of the "step-s," in-laws, and even in-laws of in-laws, especially Deb & Roger Lawrence, Lisa Frias, Rich and Beth Adduci, Rachel Adduci, Nate Adduci, and the entire wonderful Ryan and Schneider clan.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of Wesley Willows, and especially Mara-Lee.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 13 at the Unitarian Church, 4848 Turner St., Rockford.
Elizanne requested that in lieu of flowers, any memorials be made to the Unitarian Church of Rockford, the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, the Wesley Willows Good Samaritan Fund, or a worthy charity of your choice.

Condolences & Shared Memories (3)

  1. Magda & Vidyut Pandya

    She was a good lady and one of the pillar of the U.U. Church of Rockford. She will be missed.

  2. Kevin Quillen

    Steve, My prayers and sympathies go out to you and your entire family. It sounds like your mother was quite a gal.

  3. Dr. joan e. kole

    Many years ago now....Lynn Martin was the scheduled speaker at what was The City Club restaurant. I very much wanted to hear her but had no transportation. While I barely knew Elizanne, I called her; explained; and she graciously agreed to pick me up as she, too, was planning on attending. That was so typical of her giving to others. My condolences to her family. We are all the better for having known her.

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