Dr. Norris Earl Lewis, 79, of Christiansburg, went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, May 10, 2020. He was born in Cardinal, Kent., on August 24, 1940, to the late Joe Lee and Hassie Hensley Lewis.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Judy Griggs Lewis; his daughters, Allison Nagel and Kimberly Lewis; sons and daughters in law, Joseph (Jody) Lively and Julie Edwards and son Robbie, Michael and Brenda Lively; sister Geraldine Ratcliffe; grandchildren, Kevin Lively and wife April, Kayla Bradley and husband Hunter, Emily and Jessica Nagel, Will and Norris Pittman; and great grandchildren, Grant and Addison Lively.
Norris was a founding member of Good Shepherd Baptist Church where he served as Chairman of the Deacon Fellowship, a trustee, and a member of the finance team. Norris also taught Bible Study classes for many years and loved speaking to others about the Lord.
In addition to his professional and church activities, he was a special husband, father, papa, and friend. He loved his farm and his cattle.
Norris served as Director of Self-Reliant Ministries (SRM), Director of Projects and Foundations, and Board Secretary for Advancing Native Missions (ANM) in Charlottesville. He drove to Charlottesville every Thursday for years to work at ANM. During that time he went on mission trips to Russia, Liberia, and Ghana, West Africa.
Norris Lewis received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering Science from Virginia Tech in 1976, in addition to holding a M.S. in Physics from Virginia Tech (1971) and a B.S. in Physics from Concord College (1962). From 1962-1963, Norris worked as a physicist in the Instrument Systems Research Laboratory at Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Mich., and from 1963-1969 as staff physicist in Analytical Methods Development at Celanese Fibers Company in Narrows, Va.
In 1969, he began his career at Litton Poly-Scientific in Blacksburg as a materials scientist. As a strategic leader and technology visionary, within a few years he created and set up the company’s materials and research laboratory, which continues to this day in helping to develop and refine technology, products and markets.
Norris held numerous engineering management positions throughout the years until retiring in 2008 as CTO and group vice president of technology at Moog Components Group, who acquired Poly-Scientific. Despite his retirement, he continued to work as an engineering mentor and consultant on intellectual property and special technology projects until May 2017.
During the course of his professional career, he authored twenty-five publications, received twenty-five U.S. patents, and was a member of several professional organizations, including the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and SPIE. Over Norris’ 48- year career at Poly-Scientific/Moog, he was instrumental in developing and championing multiple projects and technologies that have turned into internationally known and longstanding product lines, including Slip Rings with Fiber Brushes, Brushless DC Motors, Fiber Optic Rotary Joints, Fiber Transceivers, as well as numerous aerospace and defense slip ring products.
Norris’ strategic leadership helped lead Moog to become a technically differentiated company offering the best products on the market. Throughout the years, Norris mentored many of the engineers and scientists currently working at Moog, encouraging them to pioneer new ideas and to persevere through early technology failures as they have developed into who they are today. Not only was he a distinguished and respected member of Moog’s engineering management and intellectual property team, he was considered a great friend by his co-workers.
The family received friends and family on Friday, May 15 at the McCoy Funeral Home in Blacksburg. Visitation for the church family was 3:30 -4:30 p.m. and for the family friends was 4:30-5:30 p.m. Please honor the times scheduled as the current restrictions only allow 40 people, including the family, to be inside the building at one time.
A graveside service will be held today, Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m. at the Lewis Family Farm, 805 Tower Road, Christiansburg, with Pastor Matthew Kirkland officiating. All of the family’s friends and the family are invited to join in service, as there are no limitations or restrictions there.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Norris’s name to Good Shepherd Baptist, PO Box 398, Christiansburg, VA 24068. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.