As Ethel Lewis crossed the street to retrieve her newspaper every morning, her faithful, little white dog, Bandit, would wait for her at a tree near the end of her driveway until she returned with the paper.

But on Monday, Dec. 4, Bandit left the tree without Lewis. The 76-year-old Buxton woman, who was widely known and respected in the community, was struck and killed by a vehicle on Long Plains Road just after 6 a.m. in a hit-and-run accident.

Wilmot “Bill” Lewis opened the kitchen door to look for his wife when she hadn’t returned and saw Bandit, who had run back to the house, according to Sylvia Young, Lewis’ sister.

Ethel Lewis died early Monday afternoon at Maine Medical Center. Buxton Police later found a maroon, 1999 Dodge minivan they believe was involved in the accident. They have questioned the woman who was driving it and contacted the York County District Attorney’s Office. Mark Lawrence, the district attorney, said Wednesday an investigation could take up to a month.

“It’s going to be a big loss for everyone,” said Barbara Elwell, a Buxton resident who remembered Ethel Lewis as one of a kind. “We’re going to miss her terribly.”

The Lewis family’s farm on Long Plains Road had been home for Bill and Ethel Lewis since 1947, when they were married after she graduated from Sanford High School. For years, the couple owned and operated a dairy farm. Young remembered that they had a route and also sold milk at their home to customers. She delivered milk door-to-door in Dayton, Hollis and Buxton.

“She washed all the bottles,” one of her many duties in the dairy business, Young said.

Louis Emery, a former selectman, who grew up on the farm across the road from Wilmot Lewis, said Ethel Lewis was the bookkeeper for the couple’s retail milk route. “They also bought milk from other farms,” said Emery, who still lives in the neighborhood.

In more recent years, Lewis and her husband, a former selectman, produced gladiolas and other cut flowers on the farm. Young said her sister was a hard worker.

“She had an aptitude for flowers. She raised glads for years,” Young said.

Emery said the couple sold gladiolas at the end of their driveway, where they had a box and trusted their customers. “You take the glads and leave the money,” Emery said.

Born in 1930, the oldest girl of six children, Ethel Lewis worked hard all her life. Her mother died when she was 12, and she helped her grandmother raise her brother and sisters.

“She had to grow up faster than the rest of us,” Young said.

Young said her sister was a neat housekeeper and had a wood cooking stove in her kitchen. Young said her sister stayed trim, despite her cooking ability.

“She could have gone for Mrs. Maine,” Young said.

Ethel Lewis worked 27 years for Maine Savings Bank, retiring in 1990. She raised three children, but also found time for other kids as a 4-H leader. The Lewis and Emery children belonged to the club.

“Children liked her real well,” Emery recalled.

She was a member of the Buxton Garden Club and the Buxton Center Baptist Church. “She was very active in the church,” Elwell said.

Selectman Bob Libby lives a short distance on the same road as the Lewis farm. Libby said Lewis’s death is a blow to the community. “She was a nice, nice lady, a high quality lady,” Libby said.

Visiting hours will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home, 13 Portland Road, at intersection of routes 202 and 4A, in Buxton. An additional visiting hour will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, with a funeral service at 11 a.m. The Rev. David Borger will officiate. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery on Groveville Road in Buxton.

Well-known woman dies in hit-and-run

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