Lewis (Lewie) Leroy Eilers made his final journey to his eternal home on September 10, 2021 at 1:20 p.m. He was born October 13,1940, in Twin Falls, Idaho to Irvin and Elfrieda (Dohse) Eilers.
Lewie led a strenuous life, thoroughly dedicating himself to family and faith. He was known for his cherub blonde curls and big blue eyes as well as his out-going energetic personality in his early childhood and often would reminisce about growing up on a farm in a small town.
Lewis excelled in sports in high school, earning varsity letters in basketball, football, and track.
After winning the 400-meter race in the Idaho state tournament, he earned a scholarship in track at the University of Idaho.
During his freshman year in college, he joined the U.S. Navy. He served for four years, aboard an aircraft destroyer as a sonar technician and earned an associates degree after which he decided to go home, take up farming and raise a family.
In 1964, he met the love of his life, Pamela Jean Peddicord, on a blind date set through mutual friends. They were engaged to be married on Valentine’s Day and married two months later on Easter. Lewis and Pam enjoyed 56 years of marriage and had six children. Lewis was actively involved in the children’s lives with work on the farm, 4-H, sporting activities and church life.
Shortly after marrying in 1965, Lewis purchased the farm his mother’s family had homesteaded one mile south of Kimberly, Idaho. He ran a successful dairy operation for many years and was a founding member of the United Dairymen of Idaho, serving in leadership roles and ultimately becoming president of the association.
After selling his dairy cows in a government buy-out program in 1986, he continued farming for a few years until he was recruited by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) as his regional director. Lewis enjoyed the role immensely as it allowed him to connect with the local community, impact public policy and help those in need through casework.
Lewis later served as executive director for the United Dairymen of Idaho where he was able to influence many public initiatives. He testified before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and was instrumental in writing the 1995 Farm bill. A pragmatic negotiator with thorough knowledge of agribusiness, he enabled the dairy industry to become the top commodity for the state of Idaho. He was the agent for the Wiersma Dairy Agroforestry Project and created the Environmental Water Alliance, Inc. He was recognized for his tireless efforts during his tenure at the association and received numerous awards of distinction including for environmental causes and from the state insurance department.
Lewis was proud to be from Idaho and advocated for his native state. He took great pleasure serving on the Twin Falls County Fair Board, among other community events he supported. Years after he had left Idaho to live near family in Portland, OR, Lewis received a spontaneous standing ovation in the Idaho House chamber while attending a tour with his grandchildren.
Lewis was a born leader. He had the ability to see the simple path to a solution and persuade others to accept his conclusion while also ensuring a favorable outcome for everyone. His generosity towards others was evident through his tireless giving of himself and enduring love for family and those in need. Despite some difficult years, he maintained a positive attitude, trusting in God throughout many trials.
From a young age, Lewis’s true passion was his Lutheran faith and he dedicated his life to revealing the love of Christ Jesus. He was active in his local church, Redeemer Lutheran and, in later years, at Pilgrim and Ascension Lutheran churches in Portland, OR. He was on the board of regents for Concordia College, Portland and was elected as governor of Region 13 for the International Lutheran Laymen’s League which later became Lutheran Hour Ministries. He also served as a district president, regional governor, development chairman, and congregational ambassador for the mission organization. He was a long-serving elder and also gave sermons during pastor vacancies in addition to teaching adult Sunday school for many years.
Lewis enjoyed traveling and never missed an opportunity to take his family along for work trips as well as church conventions. He enjoyed visiting family, touring the world, and golfing.
He was greeted in Heaven by his parents and his sister, Donna Grant. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Eilers; siblings, Keith (Virginia) Eilers , Martha (Gordon) Settles, and Darlene Lierman; children, Natalie (Joseph) Bishop, Michelle (Kevin) Linehan, John (Sara) Eilers, Heather (David) Eilers-Bowser, Julie (Anthony) Marsh, Nicholas (Lizzy) Eilers; grandchildren, Ethan Bishop, Nicole Bishop, Jackson Linehan, Kendal Linehan, Cole Eilers, Brody Eilers, Jacob Bowser, Elizabeth Grace Bowser, Margreta Bowser, Emily Marsh, Caleb Marsh and Lucca Eilers.