Richard John Lewis

Date of Birth

January 20, 1935

Date of Death

June 23, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Richard John Lewis was born in Chicago in 1935 where he was raised by his mother, Marjorie O’Sullivan Lewis. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1956 and received his degree in Medicine from Northwestern University in 1960. He thrived as a medical research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco researching the blood thinner Coumadin. He later opened a private practice in oncology in Beverley Hills and Santa Monica, where his cancer patients knew him as a doctor who truly listened to them and treated them with great kindness, respect, and effectiveness. Richard was an avid world traveler, tennis player, sailor, bicyclist, and environmentalist. An enthusiastic jogger, he completed the Boston Marathon, among others. Later in his life, while an active member of the Self-Realization Fellowship, he explored the teachings of Thich Nhat Han and ultimately embraced the practice of mindfulness meditation and Theravadan Buddhism. He lived the last decades of his life first in Ventura and then in Santa Barbara, where he died at home of complications due to prostate cancer on June 23, 2020, surrounded by friends and family. He faced his death with great openness, courage, and wonder. His last words were “I love you all”. He is succeeded by his three children, Mark Lewis of Hong Kong, Maura Lewis of San Francisco, and Brian Lewis of Los Angeles. A memorial is pending. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the “Open Door Sangha”, 7295 Alameda Ave, Goleta, CA 93117, for their retreat scholarship fund.


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