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Lewis, Frank J.


Businessman and philanthropist; b. Chicago, IL., April 9, 1867; d. there, Dec. 21, 1960. He was the son of William and Ellen (Ford) Lewis, Irish immigrants. Before he was 20 he had not only learned the roofing trade but had also organized a tar products company that eventually became one of the nation's leading producers of roofing and paving materials and of coal tar chemicals as well. Later he served as chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; he also held directorships in several large corporations. At 60, Lewis withdrew from active participation in the business world and dedicated the following 33 years to philanthropy and Catholic charities. He made substantial contributions, totaling millions of dollars, to the Catholic Church Extension Society; to the Lewis Memorial Maternity Hospital, Chicago; to St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa; and to De Paul University and Loyola University, Chicago. Lewis College, in Lockport, IL., was named after him in 1934. His philosophy of life was expressed in his statement that "God gives a man money so that he will share it with others. Ownership of money is stewardship." He received many honorary degrees from colleges and universities and was honored by the papacy by being made a Knight of St. Gregory, a Knight Commander of St. Sylvester, a Knight Commander of the Order of Pius IX, and a Papal Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

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