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Tuskegee Track and Field Trailblazer Evelyn Lawler Lewis Passes Away at 93

January 05, 2023

Evelyn L. Lewis with all four of her children.
Evelyn L. Lewis is joined by all four of her children.

Contact: Thonnia Lee, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

The Tuskegee University community joins those who knew and loved Alumna Evelyn Lawler Lewis, 93, in offering our condolences.

The distinguished Tuskegee track and field talent is mother of Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis. A stellar track and field athlete during her matriculation at Tuskegee, she competed in the U.S. 80-meter hurdles and held the American record at one time.

“We extend our love to her family and appreciate the contribution she offered as a student and the example she set for the world,” said Tuskegee University President Charlotte P. Morris. “Her legacy lasts beyond all records she has broken for Tuskegee or the United States, but she should be remembered for those she nurtured and helped strengthen their foundation to live out their own dreams. She was an inspiration to so many.”

She finished sixth in the 1951 Pan-American Games in Buenos Aires. In the international meet held in Santiago, Chile, immediately after the Pan-Am games, she won the 80-meter hurdles and established a new Western Hemisphere record of 11.3 seconds. She was second in the 100-meter run, fourth in the broad jump and ran the second leg on the winning U.S. relay team. By 1952, she had become one of the three best hurdlers in the world, but injuries prevented her from qualifying for the Olympics.

She was the wife of the late Bill Lewis, who she met at Tuskegee, and the mother of three sons and a daughter, each of them accomplished athletes.

She was inducted into the Tuskegee University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. A former educator, she and her late husband coached competing women’s track teams in Willingboro, N.J., according to The New York Times. “We just kiss and come out fighting,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.

“As much as she has accomplished herself, she found the most joy in serving others,” her son Carl said on his Facebook page. “Mom was fortunate enough to have traveled the world and everywhere she went she picked up another son or daughter. That was just her way. Simply put, our Mom, Evelyn L. Lewis, was one amazing women. She had it all - class, kindness, dignity, love and most of all strength. She will be missed.”

Evelyn L. Lewis hugs her son Carl
Evelyn L. Lewis hugs her son Carl.


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