HOUGHTON - Roger A. Lewis, 41, a well-known hockey player from Houghton, died on Friday evening, Jan. 4, 2013, due to injuries received in a snowmobile accident.
He was born in Hancock on April 30, 1971, a son of Roger L. and Patricia A. (Lazzeri) Lewis. He attended Houghton Schools and graduated in 1990 from Houghton High School.
Roger started playing baseball as a youth in Little League and also played for the Stanton Wildcats in the Copper Country Twilight League.
Roger was an avid hockey player. He started playing in the Mite Division in the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association. Roger excelled in all sports and during his four years of high school, he played on the Houghton Gremlins hockey team, coached under the late Don Miller, and also played on the school's golf and football teams and lettered in all three sports. Following high school, he played Junior Hockey for one year in Duluth, Minn.
He then returned to Houghton where he worked for the City of Houghton at the Dee Stadium and also in his father's painting business, Lewis Painting.
In 1993, Roger enrolled at Northern Michigan University. He played hockey in four leagues over the course of his career, starting in the WCHA as a walk-on for the Northern Wildcats in 1994, playing there until 1997. In the 1997-98 season, he played in the CHL for the Memphis Riverkings and in the UHL, for the Saginaw Lumber Kings; 1999-2000 in the WPHL for the Corpus Christi Icerays as well as the Austin Ice Bats. In the 2001-02 season, he played in the CHL for the Amarillo Rattlers and Lubbock Cotton Kings: 2001-02 for Corpus Christi Icerays; 2002-03 for the El Paso Buzzards; and in the 2002-05 seasos, played his third stint for the Corpus Christi Icerays. He finished his career with 40 goals and 86 assists.
Roger returned to Houghton in 2005, once again working in his father's business and in 2011, purchased Lewis Painting from his father which he currently owned.
Roger continued his hockey career with the Portage Lake Pioneers during the 2006-07 season. The Pioneers were crowned National Champions that season and Roger was their number two scorer with 19 goals and 23 assists. During the next five seasons, he would be the team's leading scorer for three of the five years. His career stats were 135 games played, scoring 102 goals and 126 assists. The Pioneers had great success in the G.L.H.L. during his playing days.
A leader on the ice offensively, Roger was also a leader in the locker room and off the ice. Teammates respected his skills, experience and personality. Many close friendships developed between Roger and his teammates.
Roger also played several years in the Copper Country Oldtimers Tournament for Bruno's Motors.
Roger had a super personality and a great sense of humor. He will be remembered for his smile and the ability to make others smile. He was polite to everyone he came across, never passing one by without stopping to talk. His friends could count on him to be there, never hesitating to help one of them if needed.
Roger loved being in the outdoors. He enjoyed snowmobiling and was an avid boater and jet skier. He enjoyed life to the fullest. Roger will be greatly missed by his family, many friends, hockey teammates and his best friend and buddy, his yellow lab, Tyson, who was always by Roger's side.
Surviving are his father, Roger of Houghton and his special friend, Linda Bilich; one sister, Gina Lewis of Kewaunee, Wis.; his maternal grandmother, Rose Lazzeri of Fort Smith, Ark; and aunt, Cookie Green of Fort Smith; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins; his best friend and buddy, Tyson; and many, many dear friends.
Roger was preceded in death by his mother, Patricia in 2007; his paternal grandparents, Lloyd and Cecelia Lewis; his maternal grandfather, Al Lazzeri.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at Sts. Peter & Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton with Pastor David Weber to officiate. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of services on Saturday in the church.
Arrangements are being handled by the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home in Hancock, Antila Funeral Service, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.