Joe Lewis Jr was born in Santa Nella California to parents Joe Sr. and Mary Lewis on November 23, 1936.
He resided in Santa Nella/Newman area until he was 8 years old and worked on the family dairy when the family moved to Stevinson. Joe grew up in Stevinson and worked on the family ranch for years and later met and married the love of his life, Diane Lewis (Tacherra). While he worked on the family ranch he decided to leave and work as a prison guard in Los Banos. Joe returned to the ranch after almost one year as a prison guard to purchase his father’s dairy cows. Joe milked cows in the wood milk barn that still stands today for a little more than a year on the family’s ranch and later moved his family and started a dairy in Turlock. After a few years in Turlock Joe relocated his dairy to Modesto where the family lived for over 20 years.
Ever since Joe was a very little boy, he wanted to fly airplanes. It was while living in Modesto that Joe decided to go to the Modesto airport where he met Dave Mesenhimer. Dave taught Joe how to fly whenever Joe had free time and the two quickly became best friends. With Dave’s help and Joe’s eagerness and surprising patience, Joe earned his pilot license and purchased his first of two airplanes.
In 1989 Joe and his wife purchased his father’s ranch from his mother and in 1991 the family relocated back to Stevinson. In 1994 Joe established a new dairy at his family ranch and moved back onto the ranch. While in Stevinson, Joe relocated his airplane to the Gustine airport where he met and became friends with George Foster, Paul Blades and Hamilton Machado. They spent time together flying the Valley to farm shows and flying the Central Coast and gathered many mornings for breakfast as the friends discussed their families and life and he also loved spending hours driving his truck in Santa Nella to his cherished locations in the town. Other than spending his spare time flying with his closest friends and driving his favorite spots, Joe loved vacationing with his family on the California Coast, mostly the Monterey and Pismo areas. Joe loved walking the towns, watching the wave’s crash onto the rocks on the shore and sneaking food to surrounding squirrels begging for food and attention. While on vacation, Joe also loved gathering with his family for family dinners out and dinners at home. Joe was a friendly man who was dedicated to his ranch and his family. Whenever someone new came in contact with him, Joe would entertain them by telling them stories of his life growing up in the area and giving tours of his treasured Lewis family ranch.
Joe is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Diane. His daughters Debbie Bobbe (Cole) of Arizona, Joanne Lewis of Hilmar and son, Joey (Veronica) Lewis of Turlock. His Granddaughters, Carlee (Austin) Almeida, Haylee (Adam) Ragsdale and Hannah Pearce. His Grandsons, Joseph, Luke, and Ethan Lewis.
Joe is also survived by his brother John (Alice) Lewis and his sister Rosemary (Ray) Macedo.
He is also survived by a numerous amount of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Joe is also survived by his beloved and cherished best friends George Foster and Paul Blades.
Joe was preceded in death by his father, Joe Lewis, Sr., his mother Mary Lewis, Brother Jim Lewis and friends, Dave Mesenhimer and Hamilton Machado.
Private Services will be held.