This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Ronald "Bugsy" Lewis. We will remember him forever.

Dr. Ronald Gene Lewis, devoted and caring father and activist for his Cherokee community and on behalf of people of color, passed away on Sunday April 14th at age 77 from the effects of cancer in Columbia, South Carolina. 
He was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He was the first American Indian to earn a PhD in Social Work, becoming known as the “Father of American Indian Social Work.” He was the first American Indian tenured in the University of Wisconsin system, first American Indian Full Professor in the field of Social Work, and first American Indian to hold the position of "Dean" in Canada. 
Dr. Lewis forged new policies to protect American Indian people, especially children, contributing to the creation of the landmark Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. His political activism extended to participation at events such as Wounded Knee in 1973 and the 1969 Alcatraz takeover. His greatest love and inspiration were his daughters. 
He joins his mother, Ruby Jean Lewis (Lansford); father, Paul Clifford Lewis; and daughter, Jennifer Ann Lewis in passing. He is survived by his siblings Don Lewis, Bennie Lewis (Malinda), and Paula Webb (Jackie); three daughters, Rhonda Lewis, Courtney Lewis (Christopher), and Melissa Lewis (Joseph); four grandchildren, Elizabeth Morenzoni, Nicholas Morenzoni, and Catherine Morenzoni, and Amayi Lewis-Erb; and many nieces and nephews. 

ᎢᏨᎨᏳᎢ (I-tsv-ge-yu-i)

Memorial to be held in Muskogee, Oklahoma on Saturday May 11th

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to Cherokee Nation ICWA efforts, NARF (defenders of his policies), or the Sierra Club (one of his personal charity choices) :
- (choose select "In memory of” option; type in "Dr. Ronald G Lewis"; then a box will appear that says Donation Description, type in “CN ICWA”)


Tributes are short messages commemorating Ronald, or an expression of support to his closest family and friends. Leave your first tribute here, and others will follow.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Recent stories