Humane Society benefits from local couple’s generosity, compassion

Estate of Jean and Donald Anderson bequeath $100,000 to the organization

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Jean and Donald Lewis, lifetime residents of Camas and Washougal, were known for their love of animals -- especially dogs, one of which is pictured at left. It was recently announced that the couple, as part of their estate, left $100,000 to the Humane Society of Southwest Washington. The couple worked at the Camas paper mill from high school graduation to retirement. The monies will help retire the debt on a new animal shelter, which opened to the public in July 2009.

Jean Lewis absolutely loved dogs, and thanks to a donation to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, that love continues even after her death.

Through their estate Donald C. and Jean M. Lewis — longtime Camas-Washougal residents — granted $100,000 toward the completion of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington’s capital campaign.

The grant was announced at the Humane Society’s recent annual auction to support the final stage of the campaign. The event earned a total of $1.2 million, more than erasing the $900,00 in debt from the construction of the new building located at 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave., near the Camas-Vancouver border.

The grant from the Lewis estate was made from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. When she died on April 26, 2009, at age 87, Jean Lewis bequeathed her estate to Community Foundation for the benefit of the Humane Society and disadvantaged people. Her husband had died in March 2001.

“Raising these final dollars to pay for the construction of the Humane Society’s new animal shelter is absolutely critical to their long-term financial health,” said Rick Melching, Community Foundation president. “The Community Foundation chose to release an initial $100,000 grant at this time knowing that Jean cared very much about having an appropriately-equipped animal shelter in southwest Washington. She loved all animals and would be happy to know that her legacy is contributing to providing a safe haven for them.”

Roger Knapp, of Knapp, O’Dell & MacPherson, in Camas, served as the Lewis’ long-time attorney.

“Her goals were to support the completion of the new Humane Society facility, provide an endowment fund for their long-term building maintenance and repair and to help people in need of life’s basic necessities, such as shelter, food, clothing, health care, transportation, affordable housing and day care,” Knapp said.

Jean Lewis was born in Camas to Archie and Nora Hewett. Both she and Donald started work at the Camas paper mill after graduating from high school, and worked there until retirement.

Her obituary described her as very private person who never complained and who loved gardening and her dogs.

Don Lewis, known as “Snapper,” was born in Colorado but spent all but a few months of his 83 years living in Camas, attending Camas schools.

“I am deeply touched by Jean’s generosity and her foresight in planning for the future,” said Chuck Tourtillott, Humane Society executive director. “Here is a remarkable woman who we never knew, but who will make a deep and lasting impact on our organization and our ability to care for thousands of orphaned animals each year. Jean’s gift is absolutely essential to completing funding of our new building and setting us on a solid course for the future.”

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington was founded in 1987. They offer an array of humane programs, including pet adoptions, community education, and pet behavior advice; spay/neuter assistance and low-cost pet adoptions for seniors.

After spending 40 years at its former location on 1 acre at 2121 St. Francis Lane at the Port of Vancouver, the new facility on five acres opened to the public in July 2009. Three times as large, it has room for 150 dogs and 300 cats.