Douglas C. Lewis, 36, worked with mentally ill

March 17, 2003|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,SUN STAFF

Douglas C. Lewis, a program director for services for the mentally ill, died Thursday of complications of adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare genetic disorder, at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Baltimore. He was 36.

For seven years, he worked with mentally ill patients at Prologue, a day treatment program in Pikesville.

He was the program director and left in 1995 when his illness prevented him from working and he had to start using a wheelchair.

An avid bird watcher, he then served as a volunteer tour guide at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel.

"He was incredible. He kept on doing as much as he could as long as he could do it," said his mother, Stephanie Lewis of Ellicott City.

He led indoor tours for schoolchildren and other groups until the end of 1999, entertaining them along the way with his sense of humor, she said.

But then, the progress of his disease prevented him from continuing.

In March 2000, he began attending a day program at Deerfield Senior Day Center in Westminster. He continued to attend until a few days before his death, his mother said.

He collected decoys and enjoyed carving and painting his decoys for display.

He also enjoyed freshwater and ocean fishing, frequenting Centennial Lake in Howard County and Piney Run in Carroll County. Each year, he traveled to the Outer Banks beaches of North Carolina and fished there.

He lived in several areas of Maryland, most recently with his parents in Ellicott City.

Born in Baltimore, he graduated from Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City in 1984. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 1988.

He married Kristine Kramer in 1997.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road in Towson.

In addition to his wife, who lives in California, Md., and mother, he is survived by his father, Orville Lewis of Ellicott City; a sister, Debbie Talbert of Cockeysville; and grandmothers Marion Reed of Lutherville and Amy Lewis of Timonium.

The family suggests contributions to the United Leukodystrophy Foundation, 2304 Highland Drive, Sycamore, Ill. 60178-9970, and Hospice of Howard County, 5537 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 433, Columbia 21045.

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