Sen. Lewis' death "was a real tragedy, because he had so much more to give in so many different ways," said former Gov. Ed Rendell.
"He was smart, honest, resourceful. He served in the Senate with integrity and with real concern about what was best for the people not just in his district, but in Pennsylvania," Rendell said.
Sen. Lewis was born in Hazleton, Pa., on July 22, 1944. He graduated from Millersville State College with a bachelor's degree in history. He attended the University of Nebraska graduate school and was a graduate of Temple University School of Law.
Sen. Lewis practiced law and served as a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Council, and the state Advisory Committee for Guidance Service.
He was elected to the Senate from the Sixth District, serving from 1974 to 1994.
Sen. Lewis, a Democrat, was chair of the Judiciary, Local Government, and Ethics Committees. He served on numerous state commissions.
After leaving the Senate, Sen. Lewis served as a vice president for corporate affairs at Norfolk Southern Corp. Before joining Norfolk Southern, he was a partner in the Dechert, Price & Rhodes law firm.
In 1998, he was named chair of the Philadelphia Foundation, which at that time awarded the Philadelphia Liberty Medal.
He also was on the board of Aria Health, which operates three hospitals in the Philadelphia region, and the Philadelphia Zoo.
His wife, city representative under Mayor W. Wilson Goode, described Sen. Lewis as "a wonderful husband, father, and community leader."
"He was so supportive of me personally, all his friends, and the organizations with which he was associated. He is known as someone of honesty and integrity," she said.
Sen. Lewis "had a tremendous ability to take complicated information and rearticulate it to make it clear to all. He had so much to live for," she said.
Retired Common Pleas Court Judge Gene D. Cohen, Sen. Lewis' friend of 44 years, called him "the most decent human being I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a statesman among Pennsylvania politicians."
Cohen said he and Sen. Lewis went to law school together and were best men at each other's wedding.
"He was 6-foot-4 and he looked like the senator for Central Casting," Cohen said. "He was immediately a leader in whatever he chose to go into."
In 2006, R. Andrew Swinney, president of the Philadelphia Foundation, nominated Sen. Lewis for the Philadelphia Award. The annual award is given to a citizen of the region who during the preceding year acted and served on behalf of the best interests of the community.
In his nominating letter, Swinney hailed Sen. Lewis' achievements.
"Craig is a genuine, nice guy. He is a true friend of the community and we can think of no better recognition for his decades of community service and commitment to the people than the Philadelphia Award," Swinney wrote.
Rendell said Sen. Lewis "is going to be tremendously missed. He was a terrific guy, and he and his wife were a great duo together. They did so many positive things for the area."
In addition to his wife, Sen. Lewis is survived by a son, Rob; a daughter, Janet; and a grandson.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete.
Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or email@example.com.