On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Robert “Bobby” Swindell Lewis passed away peacefully at home at the age of 75.
Bobby was born June 22, 1943 in Beaufort County, North Carolina. He attended Virginia Beach High School and enlisted in the United States Army in 1961. After boot camp in Georgia, he was stationed in Munich, Germany for three years where he served as a field artilleryman. After his discharge in 1964, Bobby returned to Virginia Beach and worked for Norfolk Paint Company.
On March 26, 1966, he eloped with his childhood friend, Florence and they kept their union a secret for six months. Flo’s younger brother spilled the beans to her parents, which led to that mighty long car ride to Hampton. In May of 1967, Julie was born, and in September of 1971, they welcomed Jackie. Six weeks later, they bought their first and only home in Virginia Beach.
In 1973, Bobby became the owner of B-M Upholstery where he specialized in automotive upholstery repair. He particularly enjoyed working on antique and muscle cars. But on occasion, he could be seen recovering a few sofas and chairs for his wife and daughters.
He was a true craftsman, meticulous about every job. A workaholic who took pride in every stitch from his sewing machine. Flo worked beside him for years, and the banter between the two was comical. Repeat customers got a kick out of their squabbles. The shop and Bobby’s work ethic served his family well. Never once did he advertise; his reputation was all he needed. He wasted nothing and paid every bill on time. His honesty and integrity helped his business thrive for over 30 years.
Bobby was a wonderful father. Despite his stoic nature, his daughters adored him and knew he adored them. He was never angered by their teenage antics; he saw every decision they made as a learning opportunity. He was always patient and humble with them for which they are thankful.
He loved cars, country music, and a thermostat set at 65. He was known for his quick wit, mischievous smile and ability to make any baby cry. He didn’t need to say much; his expressions said it all. His dry sense of humor and his whistled tunes will be remembered by all who knew him.
Bobby was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Gladys Lewis, Sr. He is survived by his wife Florence; his two daughters, Julie and Jackie, their husbands, Mark and Daryl; five grandchildren, Abbey, Georgia, Cyrus, Davis and Decker; four siblings, Raymond Lewis Jr., Iris Lewis Leary, Libby Lewis Rowe, Linda Lewis and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews.
A celebration service will be held on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 4:00p.m. at Courthouse Community United Methodist Church on Princess Anne Road. A reception will follow the service at Jackie and Daryl’s home.
Donations can be made to any charity that benefits veterans or cancer research.