Donald Lewis was a well-known Frederick County citizen from Thurmont who made a lasting impact on his community. He was an Army veteran, businessman, politician, and community philanthropist who left a permanent legacy by creating funds with The Community Foundation of Frederick County to benefit local nonprofits and provide educational opportunities. With his vision for the future, Mr. Lewis took a big step to ensure that Frederick County continues to be a place that future generations will be proud to call home, just as he did.
Born in Thurmont, Mr. Lewis grew up working on his grandparents’ farm and graduated from Thurmont High School in 1935. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps where he met his future wife, Freda. Mr. Lewis later joined the United States Army and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in France during World War II.
In the years following the war, Mr. Lewis returned home and began his entrepreneurial career with his wife Freda. The couple opened Lewis Confectionery in 1952 in Thurmont, and later opened Lewis Sporting Goods Store next door, both of which were community destinations that they owned for many years. Mr. Lewis later served his community through two terms as mayor of Thurmont and two terms as Frederick County Commissioner. As a commissioner, he served as liaison to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.
Mr. Lewis had a successful business and political career, but he was also a generous supporter of causes that mattered to him. He was a longtime supporter of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. He cared for his wife for several years after she had a stroke, and the experience inspired him to do something that would create lasting impact at the Citizens and Montevue facilities.
In 2012, Mr. Lewis turned to the Community Foundation to establish The Donald L. Lewis Staff Education Fund for Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Fund. The fund’s purpose is to provide Citizens and Montevue staff with access to continuing education and training, such as support for tuition, books, resource materials, and professional development. To date, the fund has distributed more than $100,000 for educational support for employees.
Mr. Lewis passed away in 2018 at age 99. With his vision for the future of Frederick County, he made provisions in his estate to create the following funds with the Community Foundation to benefit local nonprofits: The Donald Lewis Community Impact Fund for The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, Meals on Wheels, The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Frederick Rescue Mission, Advocates for the Aging, and Mission of Mercy.
Donors like Donald Lewis place their trust in the Community Foundation to help them support the nonprofits and causes they care about. Their vision for the future helps ensure that Frederick County remains a vibrant community for generations to come.