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FEBRUARY 20, 2009 - Clyde Lewis

We celebrate the life of Clyde Lewis.  Referred to as the father of Plattsburgh Air Force Base, he was an inspiration to those of us fortunate enough to know him.  He was devastated by the closing of the base in 1995, and felt that he and the Plattsburgh community had been betrayed by the system when the unjust decision of closure was handed down.  He was loath to jump on the PARC bandwagon in the early years because he held out hope that the decision would be reversed and the Air Force would come roaring back to Plattsburgh.  But in recent years, Clyde was an enthusiastic supporter of PARC, always gracious in his public appearances, and always willing to give advice about various base-related subjects if and when asked.

During the interview he gave us for our book, “Flying High Again”, he was asked what specific memory stood out from his colorful, exciting, and eventful life.  He said of all the wonderful memories that he carried with him, the most important thing to him, his most important achievement, was when the President of Notre Dame University asked him as a freshman to serve at the President’s Sunday mass.  He said he accepted immediately and served at the Sunday masses for the rest of his 4 years at Notre Dame.  Clyde stated he felt doing that was his most satisfying accomplishment and the one of which he was proudest.  That speaks volumes about him.


Clyde Lewis was a special person.  His memory was razor-sharp well into his nineties, and it was fascinating to listen to his recollections of past events.  He sprinkled these stories with a dry wit that was at once humorous and insightful.   We have lost a favorite son, but his many contributions live on as part of the daily fabric of our community.  Thanks, Clyde, for your devotion to the betterment of Plattsburgh, and for being a shining example of grace, faith, intellect, and determination. 

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