Orange educator Herman Lewis honored 40 years after passing by Hall of Fame

Published 12:20 am Sunday, July 23, 2023

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Education and coaching were important to Herman Lewis because it was his desire to bring the very best out in children.

That is how his widow, Pinkie Lewis, remembers it, adding many local mothers and fathers relied on her husband.

“They depended on him,” she said. “If their children got in trouble, they called him. Or if they thought they were going to get in trouble, they called him. He was loved by all of the community.”

Pinkie and Herman were married for 23 years when he died in 1982.

Herman was assistant principal at West Orange-Stark High School when he passed.

Herman Lewis returned to the spotlight 40 years after his passing when the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association honored him posthumously this month.

Pinkie, joined by nine close family members, packed a table July 15 at the Marriott in Houston during the Hall of Honor and Hall of Fame Banquet.

Lewis was recognized as a basketball inductee.

He was raised in West Columbia and attended Charlie Brown High School, staring on a state basketball championship team and earning all-State honors in 1948.

He was also class president and valedictorian in 1948.

Lewis served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

He eventually earned a bachelors degree in physical education and social studies, an education masters and an administrators certification.

Lewis took over as head basketball and assistant football coach at Moton High School in Orange in 1959.

His career took him to M.B. North High School, Lutcher Stark High School and, eventually, West Orange-Stark High School, where he was working when he passed.

According to Pinkie, Herman would have been thrilled with this month’s honor and impressed with the banquet turnout of more than 900 people.

“He loved West Columbia; it was a small community. He loved Charlie Brown High School,” Pinkie said. “My children always called it the country, but their aunt said it wasn’t.”

Pinkie and Herman were married for 23 years. Following his passing, Pinkie was single for nearly 11 years before marrying a reverend, who then passed 18 years later.

“So, I don’t want no more husbands,” she joked while visiting the Orange Leader office this week. “I am 85. I don’t need a husband.”

Pinkie was a previous deputy executive director of the City of Orange Housing Authority, where she worked in total more than 30 years. She also contracted with the department for another 12 years.

Today she takes care of her disabled son, Fletcher, who is a veteran and former member of the U.S. Navy.

“The VA has somebody to come in three times a week, but they are only there six hours,” she said. “All the meds and other things, I do.”

Herman’s granddaughter, Nia Lewis, is the registrar at West Orange-Stark High School.