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Published: Sunday, 6/19/2005

Ex-Dundee superintendentimmersed himself in his job

DUNDEE, Mich. - Wilbur W. "Bus" Lewis, 90, who was with the Dundee Community Schools for nearly 30 years as a high school mathematics teacher, high school principal, and superintendent, died Wednesday in Hearthstone, a care center in Mesa, Ariz.

He had Alzheimer's disease for several years, his daughter, Judy Tyler, said.

His health failed rapidly after a fall at home last month, she said.

He retired in 1975 as superintendent of the Dundee schools, a position he held for seven years. He was high school principal the previous 16 years.

Robert Black, the current superintendent, said he frequently hears people refer to "Bus Lewis."

In 1960, while Mr. Lewis was principal, voters approved a bond issue that led to construction of classrooms, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a library, and science laboratories at the Dundee school building, which housed students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Dundee system was made up of 12 rural districts and part of another. It was one of the largest consolidated districts in Michigan where students attended classes in one building.

"Construction was a big thing for the Dundee schools at the time," Mr. Black said.

All Dundee students attended class in that building until two years ago, when a separate high school building opened, Mr. Black said.

Mr. Lewis was organized, and he wanted to do things the right way, his daughter said.

"He got satisfaction from knowing that while he was there, [the school district] was run pretty well and that the students got what they needed out of it," his daughter said.

He did not allow his title to limit his duties. When he saw a burned-out light bulb, he changed it, his daughter said.

"He always did more than he was supposed to, even beyond his job description. If it needed to be done, it didn't matter what his position was," his daughter said.

Mr. Lewis began teaching high school trigonometry and algebra in Dundee after he returned from Army service during World War II in the China-Burma-India Theater.

He was a 1932 graduate of Scott High School and a 1936 graduate of the University of Toledo.

He received a master's degree from the University of Michigan.

Even in childhood, math enthused him, his sister Virginia Mann said.

"He was absolutely spellbound with math," his sister said. While in high school, he earned extra money as a math tutor.

He was a former member of the Dundee United Methodist Church.

He was a former president of the Tecumseh Country Club. He and his wife moved to Arizona in 1978 so that he could golf year-round - although he had attempted that in Michigan by painting golf balls green and red so he could play in the snow, his daughter said.

Surviving are his wife, Mary "Polly" Lewis, whom he married Oct. 23, 1943; daughter, Judy Tyler, and sisters, Virginia Mann and Helen Tuller.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in Apache Wells Community Church, Mesa, of which he was a member. Arrangements are by the Melcher Mortuary, Mesa.

The family suggests tributes to the church or a charity of the donor's choice.



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