Lewis was born to August Kehne and Olive (Smith) Kehne on a farm home near Winnetoon, Nebraska on November 20, 1917.
He had two brothers, Kenneth and Harold, and one sister, Lucile (Bartling).
He completed his early years of education in a small one-room country school in district 58, Knox County, Nebraska.
In 1934 he graduated with a class of eight seniors from Winnetoon Public High School during an era of Nebraska drought and severe nationwide economic depression.
As a young man he traveled North and East to work in the harvest fields of Minnesota, and shucked corn by hand in the lush corn fields of Henry County, Illinois.
He noticed his sister’s best friend, neighbor girl Edna E. Bohren, and after a kiss by the drinking water bucket in the Kehne kitchen, they fell in love.
On February 2, 1941 Lewis and Edna were married at Christ Lutheran Church near Bazile Mills, Nebraska.
Shortly after the wedding he entered the Army through the selection service of the U.S. Universal Training Law which required one year military training for every able bodied male citizen.
His military training began with the 2nd Horse Calvary at Fort Kansas.
He participated in simulated war maneuvers in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana and was ready for discharge at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor when his tour duty was extended for the “duration” (five years).
He was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for additional training, then overseas for almost three years as an optical instrument repair and adjustments specialist for the instruments controlling the aiming and firing of military armaments.
He served in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria.
Lewis was proud to serve his country in the military service!
His honorable discharge lists five campaigns, the bronze arrow head for two “D” day landings, and a U.S. War Department document of the French Government award of the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.
He attended Biarritz American University in Biarritz, France for a quarter while waiting to be transported home.
Upon his return to America he attended the University of Nebraska under the G.I.
Bill and in 1950 received a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering, followed by employment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he worked for 25 years.
He retired in 1975 after working in various locations in Nebraska, the Territory and State of Hawaii and the State of Washington.
Following his retirement, Lewis and Edna took up recreational fishing seriously, spending many happy hours in their little mini-home camper.
Detailed records indicate over 600 fishing days in 30 years of retirement.
They also traveled considerably visiting family in Nebraska and Switzerland, retracing the steps Lewis took in Europe during World War II, and returning to Hawaii to visit friends.
Lewis also spent many hours in his basement tinkering, inventing all kinds of gadgets, repairing toys and working with his grandchildren.
They called him “The Fixer.”
Lewis and Edna had three children, Jon (Peggy) of Colfax, Mary (David) Menard of Spokane, and Jay (Rita) of Omak.
They had seven grandchildren and six great- grandchildren.
They taught their children and grandchildren to fish and the boys to hunt.
All three children and their six grandchildren graduated from college and are waiting for the seventh grandchild to enter college.
Edna passed away in 2008 as a result of Alzheimer’s.
Lewis and Edna remained faithful Lutherans, although their local church closed for lack of support.
Lewis has requested a family gathering, but no formal services, followed by burial next to Edna in Fairmount Memorial Park.
Lewis will be remembered with love and joy, best summed up by his favorite saying: “Every day a holiday!”
Visitation will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014 From 11:00 am to 12:30 pm at Ball & Dodd Funeral Home.
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