Estella Lewis walked 2 miles a day until she was 102. And the love she and her late husband, Philip, shared for this community was just as amazing. As part of her estate, she earmarked $4 million for local charities to be stewarded by Hutchinson Community Foundation.
Born in 1904 on a farm 7 miles southwest of Sterling, she worked as a secretary at United Power and Light, where an insistent bookkeeper seemed to visit her a little too often to be merely talking about business. That bookkeeper turned out to be Philip Lewis, her future husband.
Not long after, the Lewises were married, the couple moved to the home they had built on Monroe Street, where they spent all of their 49 years of marriage together.
Philip died in 1986, but Estella drove her car and lived in her home until age 97. She passed away in January 2013 at the age of 108.
Now their legacy lives on through the Philip E. & Estella E. Lewis Endowed Fund, from which annual grants will be made to the following: American Red Cross of Reno County, Cancer Council of Reno County, Hospice & HomeCare of Reno County, Hutchinson Regional Medical Center Foundation, Hutchinson First Nazarene Church, Mid-America Nazarene College, General Board of the Church of the Nazarene and The Salvation Army of Hutchinson. A portion of the annual grants will also go to the Fund for Hutchinson for unrestricted giving to meet the changing needs of the community.
“Philip and Estella loved this community and the people in it. They did well financially and wished to leave a valuable legacy to the community,” said Commerce Bank trust officer and Foundation board member Dell Marie Shanahan Swearer.