Horace Lewis — Staples High School’s hugely respected, always helpful, ever-smiling head custodian for many years — died last night.
He suffered a major stroke this summer, just a few months after retiring from the Westport Public Schools. For 32 years, he gave his heart and soul to our district
After fighting to recover, he suffered a setback earlier this month when he was diagnosed with COVID. His wife Bonnie said:
Horace went quietly and comfortably. He was just too tired too fight. The love, concern,. and support from all is amazing. He would be humbled, and so grateful for everything. All the thoughtful, kind, encouraging words have lifted his spirits.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
In September, “06880” honored Horace Lewis. Here is that post:
For 32 years, Horace Lewis did everything for everyone in Westport.
Now it’s time for Westport to do something for him.
When he retired in July of 2020, he was honored as “06880’s” Unsung Hero of the Week. I wrote about his devotion to Staples High School. Horace was head custodian there — following the same role at Coleytown Middle School — and though he was a stay-out-of-the-limelight guy, I wanted to shine a light on the care and love he lavished on the building.
Classrooms, hallways, auditorium, a gym and fieldhouse and athletic fields, a cafeteria and 2 teaching kitchens, a library, TV studio, storage areas, boilers and HVAC systems — Horace knew them all. He made them sparkle, shine and work.
He hired and supervised a superb staff. He held them to high standards. But whenever something went wrong, he was the one who got the call. Broken pipes, a bad odor, a security alarm: Horace was there.
His was a stressful job. But never stopped smiling, working, or serving the building and everyone in it.
Even after his official retirement, stayed on. Staples was coping with COVID. Every hand was needed, so Horace lent his.
Five months ago, he got the chance to retire fully. He helped his daughter with her business. He enjoyed his kids and grandchildren. It was what retirement should be.
But on the day of his 35th anniversary a major stroke derailed his plans, and his life with his wife Bonnie.
Horace went into cardiac arrest twice. He is now in recovery, working to regain his motor skills, speech, and walking capabilities.
When Horace returns home, he will need a wheelchair ramp and other necessities. Meanwhile, bills not covered by insurance pile up. It’s a very tough situation for the entire family.
Horace faced many tough situations, at Staples and Coleytown. With intelligence, creativity, patience — and always a smile — he solved them all.
Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page. Click here, to pay forward a little bit of the large debt we all owe Horace Lewis.