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Educator, preacher Dr. Roland Lewis, 86

Dr. Roland H. Lewis, co-founder of Florida College and longtime member of the Hillsborough County School Board and Temple Terrace City Council, died Friday (July 19, 2002). He was 86.

Dr. Lewis, who lived in Temple Terrace for more than 50 years, suffered from asthma and died of congestive heart failure at University Community Hospital.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, he moved to the bay area in 1946. That fall, he helped start Florida College and worked as the school's business manager, registrar and academic dean. He retired in 1982.

The small liberal arts college in Temple Terrace offers two- and four-year degrees in several subjects.

Many students best knew him as teacher. He taught a home and family class at the school for 30 years, offering advice on how to make marriage work.

Dr. Lewis served on the Temple Terrace City Council from 1955-68 and on the Hillsborough County School Board from 1968-88. In 1985, he became the first living person to have a Hillsborough school named after him, said his son, Brent Lewis.

"People really respected him," Brent Lewis said. "He was very conscientious and seemed to stand for things that people identified with."

He believed strongly in educating people academically as well as spiritually. He preached at churches most of his adult life, including the Dade City Church of Christ for 17 years and the Northeast Church of Christ in Clearwater for more than eight years.

"He really was a disciplined person. He did things that he thought would help others," Brent Lewis said.

Dr. Lewis earned a doctorate of education and a master's degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He received an undergraduate degree at Abilene Christian College, now a university.

His daughter, Sherry Holmberg described him as a caring father who lived as he preached.

"There was no hypocrisy in anything he asked us to do," she said. "He believed in discipline but with love."

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Olive Lewis, of Temple Terrace; a daughter, Sherry Holmberg of Valrico; a son, Brent Lewis of Lakeland; a sister, Jaxie Palmer of Abilene, Texas; a brother, John E. Lewis of San Antonio; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Temple Terrace Church of Christ, 501 Bullard Parkway. There will be no visitation. Burial will be private.

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