Lew went to the University of Southern California on an athletic scholarship and was Captain of the USC track team for two years. He was one of the first athletes in the world to high jump over 7 feet. He won the National Collegiate Championship in the high jump and was an alternate member of the USA Olympic teams in 1964 and 1968.
After graduating from USC, with a B.S. in Geology and an M.S. degree in Systems Engineering, Lew became a fighter pilot in both the USMC and USN. After a year of combat in Vietnam, Lew was selected to be the General’s aide to the Commanding General of MCAS, El Toro, California. Thereafter, Lew became a flight instructor at the “elite” Navy Fighter Weapons School, affectionately known as TopGun. Lew is the only pilot in the world to have flown and instructed at TopGun, and also with the Israeli Air Force and two Arab Air Forces, of Egypt and Kuwait. Lew was also selected to fly airplanes at the ”top secret” Area 51, which has now been declassified.
After 23 years as a military fighter pilot, Lew also enjoyed a 25 year career as a commercial airline Captain, with both Western Air and Delta Airlines.
Lew purchased his first home in Sedona in 1988, and retired full time from San Diego to Sedona in 2003, with his wife, Nancy. Although Lew and Nancy have no children, Lew spends his “free time” coaching, mentoring, and motivating the students at the Sedona Red Rock High School.
Lew was the founder and chairman of the first Sedona Miracle in 2006, raising $741,000, which was distributed to the Verde Valley Sancturary, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Sedona Community Foundation. From that, he brought the Sedona Miracle to the Sedona 30 organization and has been intimately involved in each of the Sedona 30 Miracle events.
Lew is an active member of the Sedona community, a member of the Church of the Red Rocks, and a past Board Member of the Sedona Film Festival. Lew has been a member of the Sedona 30 since 2003. Lew was Sedona’s 2006 “Citizen of the Year.” He is also a throat and tongue cancer survivor.