James A. Lewis, Jr.
April 2, 2016
James A. (Jimmy) Lewis Jr, 74 of Roanoke passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 2, 2016 with his family by his bedside. He was born in Roanoke to the late James and Virginia Lewis. He spent most of his life as a musician in Roanoke and surrounding areas.Jimmy retired from Verizon Communications formerly Bell Atlantic and C&P Telephone company after 35 years of faithful service. Jimmy was best known as one of the star drummers in Roanoke. His passion for playing the drums made him a legend and mentor to many musicians in this area. He has performed with many artists from New Orleans, La. to Cape May, Md. In his early years as a drummer, he performed on many occasions with his best friend and saxophonist, Byron Morris. Byron went on to lead the band Unity, in Washington D.C. Jimmy was one of the founders of the famous Chevys and Premiers who, in the 1960's, performed all along the east coast. He also had the opportunity to perform with artists, such as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and many other R&B groups during that time. His talent gave him the opportunity to play many different genres of music. He performed with the big jazz band in Roanoke headed by the late Dave Figg. He was one of the founders of the Communicators Band of Roanoke. His love for the art would lead him to play for the Tommy Miller Quartet at the Boars Head Inn in Charlottesville, Va. Jimmy was Baptized at First Baptist Church of Vinton, Va. by the Reverend H. A. Lindsey. He eventually realized his true calling when he joined the New Directions Gospel Group. He dedicated the rest of his time to playing music for the Lord. He spent the first part of his gospel musical ministry at Jerusalem Baptist Church where he also served as a Trustee and participated in the transportation ministry. His final days of sharing his talent would be dedicated to playing his drums with the gospel choirs at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church where he was a faithful member until he was called home.Left to cherish Jimmy's memory is Lucille Lewis (wife); his children, James (Claudette) Lewis, Thomas (Nechelle) Lewis, Lynette Lewis, Shelton Lewis, Steven(Tenisha) Lewis; his grandchildren, Christopher, Latasha, Brittany, Mila, Kayla, Neosha, Jalyn, Cassandra; and a host of great grandchildren, extended family and friends.There will be a Celebration of Jimmy's life from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2016, at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church on 1810 Grayson Ave Roanoke, Va. 24017. The Homegoing Celebration will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2016 also at Greater Mount Zion.