James Winship Lewis

December 20, 1991

James Winship Lewis, who was a teacher, organist and choral conductor, died Sunday of cancer at the Joseph Richey Hospice.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, North Charles and Saratoga streets.

Mr. Lewis, who was 83 and lived on St. Paul Street, retired in 1973 as chairman of the Department of Speech at what is now the New Community College of Baltimore.

He had joined the faculty of the school in 1950 when it was still the Baltimore Junior College and was one of the founders of WBJC-FM with a volunteer staff in 1952.

He began his academic career in 1929 at the McDonogh School, where he taught English, history and riding before becoming a music teacher. He also taught at the Gilman School and the Maryland College for Women before joining the Baltimore Junior College faculty.

Born in Baltimore, he was educated at Friends School, the Charlotte Hall School, Johns Hopkins University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees, and Harvard University, where he did graduate work in linguistics.

At the Peabody Conservatory, he earned certificates in piano, organ and harmony. He gave piano recitals in Baltimore in the 1930s.

From 1986 until last spring, he served as organist and choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of the Advent. He had earlier held the same posts at the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and at a series of Episcopal churches, St. Anne's in Annapolis, Trinity in Long Green, and Messiah, Mount Calvary and Grace and St. Peter's, all in Baltimore.

He was a former chairman of the Commission on Church Music of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and also edited a newsletter for the commission.

From 1948, shortly after studying choral conducting under Robert Shaw, until 1963, he was director of the Handel Choir, introducing a wide selection of choral music in addition to such staples as the "Messiah."

His wife, the former Jane Frances May, died within a decade of their 1938 marriage.

He is survived by two nieces, Elaine Young Chambers of Lake of the Woods, Va., and Louise Lewis Alcorn of Bellingham, Wash.; and two nephews, Dr. Donald L. Young of Sausalito, Calif., and John C. Lewis III of Andover, Mass.

The family suggested memorial contributions could be made to the Church of the Advent or the Joseph Richey Hospice.

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