Even though Jim Lewis was in World War 2, he led an average American life. He raised four kids in the Piedmont of North Carolina, with the values of love and respect. He influenced others through his hard work, dedication to his country, and his loyalty to his family. He voluntarily joined World War 2 and was a part of the Automobile Industry for 20+ years. Through this historical biography, you will learn about his life in the war, involvement of the crash in the S.S. Uruguay, and the car industry of the 1950’s-60’s.
Jim Lewis was born on March 3rd, 1910 in McKinney, Texas. He was the middle child of three, with Jim and Laura Lewis as his parents . He was in the Texas National Guard, before he volunteered to go into World War 2, at the age of 35. He was too old to be drafted, but after Pearl Harbor, he felt the need to serve his country the best he could. Lewis married Catherine Harkey after the war, and had four children. He worked for City Chevrolet for most of his life after the war as a car mechanic and later a security guard. After Catherine died, he was remarried for a few years until he died of testicular cancer, leaving behind all four children, nine grandchildren, and four great grandchildren .
Growing up in McKinney, Texas, Lewis did many odd jobs before he was in the Texas National Guard. He was a bread truck driver for a bakery and worked on cars, to name a few . The life in Texas at the time of Lewis’ high school years was about economic expansion, with petroleum being the basic regional builder in the south west. Oil made the region’s economy different, where as it used to depend on agriculture and timber. But oil fueled the growing automobile industry, with every 4.3 Texans having a car by 1929. By 1930, Texas had the fifth largest population in the United States. To aid this, there was a major influx of Mexican immigrants in the ‘20’s. The census showed that there were 638,681 people of Mexican descent in 1930 compared to only 71,062 in 1900. This was mainly caused by the rapid expansion of Texas agriculture earlier in the century. Labor unions had no chance in the South, as the surplus of unskilled labor made the workers not want to alienate the employers by making demands. Labor unions had to fight a whole list of other things in the South, including hostility, tradition, poverty, and suspicions of “Yankees”. To top it all off, many mills used an anti-union contract, and had insiders that would always be on the lookout for any word of unionization efforts .
Lewis voluntarily joined World War 2 in 1945, as he was too old to be drafted in. He went to many different places such as North Africa and Italy . Life in World War 2 was difficult for everyone involved. The soldiers overseas were not the only ones that were experiencing changes all around them. The families that were left behind were “fighting the war on the home front”. The Ford manufacturing plant in Richmond went from making cars, to building Sherman Tanks. The...