To our friends in the Fishing Tackle Industry:
We regretfully announce that William "Bill" Lewis, a pioneer in the fishing tackle industry and founder of Bill Lewis Lures, passed away Friday, June 17, 2005 in his residence in the company of his family and friends after a long illness. Bill Lewis became a prominent figure in the fishing tackle industry in which he worked for over 40 years. Bill was best known for his invention of the "Rat-L-Trap" line of fishing lures which is recognized around the world as among the most popular and most effective artificial lures in history. The invention of the "Rat-L-Trap" with it’s unique sound chamber design is considered to be one of the most important innovations in the history of the fishing lure industry, spawning the development of dozens of other lures and tackle products incorporating some form of the designs first created by Bill Lewis. The impact upon sport fishing and the fishing tackle industry will forever be influenced and advanced as a result of the inventions and innovations of Bill Lewis. Bill will be dearly missed by his family, his employees, and his many friends around the country.
William "Bill" Lewis (1921-2005)
Bill was born February 14, 1921 in Laurel, Mississippi. He attended Laurel High School and the University of Alabama. In high school, Bill was an All-State football player for the undefeated State Champion Laurel High School team. He received football scholarship offers from several Division I universities, but his plans for college football were interrupted when he was called to military duty. Bill served as a B-24 Bomber pilot during World War II. He completed 30 combat missions as well as an additional 10 voluntary ground support missions transporting gasoline to General Patton’s troops in Europe. For his service, Bill received numerous decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross. After attending the University of Alabama, Bill was accepted to the prestigious Chicago Academy of Art. After graduating, Bill worked as a commercial artist in Chicago, Illinois and Dallas, Texas.
Bill started his first fishing tackle business in the early 1960s and continued manufacturing fishing lures under the name Bill Lewis Lures until his death June 17, 2005.
Bill is survived by his wife, Eula Bass Lewis of Alexandria; his son, W.H. "Buddy" Lewis and wife of Alexandria, LA; Marcia "Marcy" Olson and husband Norm of Alexandria; his brother, Jack Lewis of Vicksburg, Mississippi; his sister, Ottie Jean Gray of Laurel, Mississippi; and grandchildren, Michael Olson, Chase Olson and Wesley Higgins. He is preceded in death by his daughters, Stephanie Lewis and Eileen Lewis; and parents, William Henry Lewis and Ottie Jean Tarvin.