Former colleagues in Oxford remember Charles Lewis, Jr.
● By Steven Hoffman
The May 16 Oxford School Board meeting began with a moment of silence to remember Charles Lewis, Jr., the former Oxford Area School District business administrator who passed away on May 11 at the age of 63.
School board president Richard Orpneck said that Lewis, who was known by everyone as “Chip,” worked very hard for the district to keep it in good financial shape during his 28 years with Oxford. Lewis retired in 2015.
Lewis, who lived in Malvern, is survived by his wife, Diane, and their two children.
In addition to his duties as the school district business manager, Lewis was a CPA. He also served on a number of non-profit organizations in the Oxford area. He was the president of the Rotary Club of Oxford, a board member of CCRES, and a member of the Oxford Area School District's Education Foundation. He was a member of DVASBO and PASBO from 1987 to 2017, serving in a variety of officer positions, including as president. He was also a PASBO liaison for the southeastern Pennsylvania region.
Jim McLeod served on a number of school district committees and met Lewis shortly after he was hired by the district as its business administrator.
“When the Oxford Educational Foundation was formed in 1994, Chip was asked to be the treasurer and he graciously accepted,” McLeod explained. “He held that position until his retirement. My involvement with the Oxford Educational Foundation for many years allowed me to interact with him on a regular basis. I saw his desire to provide a quality education to the students of Oxford. He truly cared about their education, not just the dollars and cents involved.”
McLeod added, “Chip joined the Oxford Rotary Club in 2009, and served as president from 2012 to 2014. His commitment to ‘service above self’ was evident not just with Rotary, but on the other nonprofit boards he was involved with in the county.”
Penny Lynn Shaffer, who is now the supervisor of business services for the Kennett Consolidated School District, worked with Lewis in Oxford’s business office for many years. She considered him a mentor.
“I was very fortunate to have a great mentor like Chip,” Shaffer said. “I valued his professional advice, which he continued to give even while ill. Having him as my boss was also a pleasure. But he was more than a teacher and a boss, he was a friend, and I will miss him.”
Speaking at the school board meeting, former school director Kurt Haegele said that Lewis played an important role with the district.
“I had the privilege of working with Chip for eight years as a school board member,” Haegele said. “Chip really helped the district. He was a good accountant for the school school district, and he did a lot for us.”
Haegele explained that if it weren’t for Lewis’s skills as a business manager, the district would not have been able to undertake a series of much-needed renovation projects on schools or to build a new high school. The impact that Lewis had on the school district will be lasting.
“His smile and quick wit will be missed,” McLeod said, “but certainly not forgotten.”