Calvin Fred Lewis
...was born in Illinois on March 27, 1946. He can be best described in a word; unique. A sentiment those fortunate enough to feel his profound influence understand. An example of uncompromising intellect, honesty, compassion and kindness. Whether you were a member of his firm, his client, his student, his teammate, your coach, his family, or a friend, he graciously shared his time, effort and love. Above all, he committed his life to improving the lives of others and recognized the influence everyone had on him.
After growing up among the architectural and sports icons of Chicago, Cal began his career in Des Moines, IA at Charles Herbert and Associates. He had received his formal architectural education from Iowa State University (ISU) where he graduated in 1970, while also earning All Big-8 Conference recognition in varsity football. A career highlight was the opportunity to collaborate with the university on the award winning Jacobson Athletics Building, reconnecting his two true passions... athletics and architecture.
During his time at ISU, Cal met the love of his life Diane Johnson. They married before graduation, and were fortunate to have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
In 1987, Cal was a founding principal of Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture (HLKB), the evolution of the Herbert firm. In 2001, the firm was honored with the coveted National AIA Firm Award — the highest recognition given to an architecture firm. During his tenure, Cal displayed a focus on design; for over thirty years he made significant contributions to the collaborative design process that drove the firm's award-winning work. Elevating him to AIA Fellowship in the prestigious category of Design by his national peers in the AIA, a status shared by only 1% of the profession.
Cal also exhibited a complimentary devotion to design education. In the 1980s he served his alma mater as a visiting adjunct professor, and in 2000 he formally reconnected with the academy when he was selected to lead the Department of Architecture as professor and chair. In the decade under his leadership, the department rose to national prominence and became consistently recognized as one of the top Architecture programs in the country.
In 2009, AIA Iowa bestowed Cal with their Medal of Honor, the architecture profession's highest individual recognition by peers within the state; there had only been ten other recipients in AIA Iowa's storied history.
Cal was humbled by his extraordinary collection of accolades, but he recognized his greatest accomplishment was his family. His love for Diane and their four sons is the only thing that exceeded his passion for his profession. Cal passed away unexpectedly on November 24, 2018.
Cal's own words about his mentor, Charles "Chick" Herbert were reflected in him:
"His towering yet humble presence will be missed, but his benevolent legacy is destined to live and flourish."
Linda "Diane" Lewis
...was born in Mineral Wells, Texas in 1946 as the second of seven children to Norman and Mary Johnson. Her father's sales career required the family to relocate many times, but she considered Edina, Minnesota her childhood home.
Diane graduated from Edina High School and although she would have been a remarkable Rockette, she put her daydreams of Radio City Music Hall on hold to study Education at Iowa State University. While at ISU, she met the love of her life, an architecture student and football player, Calvin Lewis. They married and after graduation moved to Des Moines.
After several years of teaching elementary school, Diane's career was replaced with a devotion to being a mother and raising her family. Her four boys (five counting Cal) were the beneficiaries of most of her attention, but as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend or grandma she was a favorite that had the ability to make you feel special like no one could.
Diane was kind, compassionate and selfless; graciously sharing her time and endless love. Her bright smile and momentous laugh were unforgettable. Diane was very creative with an unmatched eye for design. One of many reasons she and Cal made such a great pair. Whether it was imaginative birthday parties, elaborate Halloween costumes, festive holiday parties or her home, clothing and funky fun jewelry; she was extraordinary.
Her creativity, dedication and selflessness culminated in establishing the Senior Party at Roosevelt High School. In 1989, she led the ambitious goal of producing an extravagant overnight party in the school for all the graduating seniors with no cost for admission. With the effort and generosity of parents, community, and staff they created a tradition that carries on to this day.
Later in life Diane fell in love with Italy. She and Cal lived in Rome and enjoyed the Italian lifestyle. Daily walks to the markets, maintaining "her" piazza fountain and plenty of gelato. She cherished the times she called Rome her home.
Diane was preceded in death by her husband Cal, but not before they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Sadly the last years of her life were consumed with the struggle and strife of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, but now she is at peace.
We all love her and will miss her greatly...
Celebrating Cal and Diane
Des Moines Art Center
July 22nd from 5 to 8 PM
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a contribution to the one of the following:
Diane and Cal Lewis TRHS Senior Party Endowment Fund
It is a 100% volunteer and donation-funded event that is a lasting legacy of their love for the community.
Donations can be made by clickinghereor mailing:
Diane and Cal Lewis TRHS Senior Party Endowment Fund
4419 Center Street
Des Moines, IA 50312-2299
Calvin Lewis Memorial Fund at the Iowa State Foundation
Donations can be made by calling866.419.6768or by mailing:
Calvin Lewis Memorial Fund
2505 University Boulevard
Ames Iowa 50010