James Lewis

James Hiller Lewis, 77, passed away at home in the embrace of his family on July 16, 2023.

Jim was born on April 16, 1946 to James Mills Lewis and Mary Hiller Lewis, D.O., in Portland, Maine. The family soon moved to the Island of North Haven, Maine, in Penobscot Bay like many generations before them. An opportunity for his family to manage the Putney School Inn and General Store brought them to Vermont where he and his twin brother attended The Little School. Their family adventures continued when they moved to Newport, NH. Here, Jim attended Towle High School (Class of ’64) and met his soulmate and future wife, Mary Ann Howley.

Shortly after graduation, Jim took a job aboard the Research Vessel Atlantis II with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, participating in the prestigious United Nations sponsored Indian Ocean Expedition of 1965.

Following his marriage to Mary in 1968, Jim completed his BA from Plymouth State University (Class of ‘69) and gained a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan (Class of ‘71). He then became a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy where his first assignment was at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. It was here that Jim and Mary welcomed their first son, Adam. Transitioning to civilian life, Jim took a position with the New York State Health Department, Medical Assistance, Hospital Utilization, and Medical Care Evaluation program.

Jim returned to his Maine roots when he, Mary and Adam moved to Winthrop. There, he worked in Augusta for the Department of Health and Human Services as the Assistant Director and Director of the Maine Bureau of Medical Services, amongst other positions. It was in Winthrop that Jim and Mary welcomed their son, Jordan.

Achieving “Twice the Citizen” (a career in the Navy reserve and civilian life), Jim retired as a Captain from the Navy in 2000, holding Commanding Officer and Executive Officer duties at the Augusta Maine Naval Reserve Center. He was recalled to active duty at Naval Hospital Groton, CT during Desert Storm, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to service.


After 30 years of dedication to the Maine Department of Human Services he retired in 2006.

During his retirement, Jim cherished attending his grandchildren’s sports and school events, sharing in their joys and achievements. When he wasn’t reading, playing cribbage or chess with his grandchildren, he enjoyed maintaining the family homestead on North Haven, boat building, traveling, antique vehicle restoration and spending time with his beloved wife. He was a lifetime member of the American Public Health Association and a proud member of the Maine Irish Heritage Center in Portland, Maine, where he studied the Gaelic language. Jim’s altruistic spirit was evident through all he did, including his lifetime commitment to donating blood, leaving a legacy of giving.

Jim was known for his unwavering integrity, kindness, and compassion. He had a genuine interest in others’ well-being and never hesitated to lend a helping hand. Jim had a sparkle in his eye, sense of humor, and warm smile that were a true gift to anyone in his presence. He approached life with a positive outlook, finding joy in the simple pleasures and cherishing every moment spent with family and friends. Jim’s legacy of love and generosity will forever inspire those who had the honor of sharing in his journey.

Jim leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Mary Lewis; sons Adam and Jordan; daughter-in-law Katie Lewis; grandchildren Jillian, Adam Jr., Charlotte, Jaymes and Evelyn; brother George Lewis and family and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Calling hours will be Thursday, August 10th from 10 a.m. to noon, at Hope Memorial Chapel, 480 Main St. in Biddeford. A Funeral Outside of Mass will be held at St. Joseph Church, 178 Elm St. Biddeford, ME at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family kindly requests that memorial donations be made in Jim’s name to the McArthur Public Library, 270 Main St., Biddeford, ME where Jim spent much of his time researching and acquiring books or The American Cancer Society of Maine. Call to donate at 800-227-2345 or go to donate.cancer.org.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: