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Roy A. Lewis, 78, West Branch
Obituaries · October 26, 2017



Roy A. Lewis, 78, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at the Henderson Barker Funeral Home in West Branch, IA followed immediately by the celebration of Roy’s life at noon. Please dress comfortably in jeans. Burial will be in the West Branch Cemetery.

Roy Alan Lewis was born Jan. 20, 1939, in rural Floyd County, Iowa, the son of Roy Henry and Editha Minnie (Tibbits) Lewis. He was a graduate of Colwell Schools and attended Mason City Jr. College, later graduating from the University of Iowa with bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving in Alaska and South Carolina as a flight mechanic. Roy was united in marriage to Lorna Jeanne Wiltse. Roy and Lorna lived in South Carolina then Floyd, Iowa, before moving to West Branch in 1966. They began R&L Rebuild, an auto body shop, before turning his lifelong love of building Street Rods into establishing Chassis Engineering, Inc. Roy had retired in 2000 but continued to be a consultant in the business and maintained his shop, working on several projects at all times.

He designed and built the “Chassis Engineering Special,” a diesel-powered streamliner, which he drove on the Bonneville Salt Flats and holds the land speed record for his class.

In 2006, Roy became the first person in the world to drive a diesel powered vehicle over 300 mph.

Survivors include three children: Brent (Anne) Lewis of Conway, S.C, Jeanne (Steve Tomas) Lewis-Tomas of Oxford, Iowa, and Scott (Shuva Rahim) Lewis of Iowa City, Iowa; grandchildren: Becca (Brian) Dinkins, Jonathon (Michaela) Dodi, Donna Lewis, Jessica Lewis, Amy Donovan, Heather Donovan, Tony Donovan, Rachel (Michael) Beach, Whitley Tomas, Clint (Samantha Stahle) Tomas, Christopher Tomas, Tanner Tomas and Aiden Tomas; two great-grandchildren Lyric Dodi and Brooklyn Tomas also survive.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Lorna; two brothers Henry and Richard, as well as Richard’s wife Verla; two sisters, Rhoda Naal and Sylvia Greene; and one great-granddaughter, Casie Dinkins.

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