FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The long-time owner of Jerry’s Marine Service, Helen Lewis, passed away Jan. 30, the company said in a statement that day. She was 74. She had battled cancer since she was diagnosed in April 2007.
Originally from New Brunswick, N.J., Lewis eventually moved to Fort Lauderdale. There she purchased Jerry’s Marine Service in 1973. She turned what had been a mom and pop marine repair facility into one of the largest marine distributors on the East Coast, with additional branches in Charleston, S.C. and Lakewood, N.J., the company stated.
Throughout her career, Lewis was an ardent advocate for the industry, serving as president of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida from 1982-1983, according to the distributor. She was the 1992 Darlene Briggs award recipient.
She was married to Joseph Lewis, Jr., for 39 years. The couple has three sons: Joseph III, Timothy and Jonathan.
Though she was semi-retired, she still conferred with the company on a daily basis to keep it moving in the right direction. When she wasn’t working, she enjoyed spending long weekends at the family’s home in the Florida Keys, boating, fishing, football and traveling.
“Helen always was there for you when you were in need,” said Jim Zimmerman of Jerry’s Marine Service. “Right, wrong or indifferent, Helen was there. I can hear her tell me and a few others, ‘I will always stand behind you. I might be kicking you in the ass for doing what you did, but I will be standing behind you.’”
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