My father-in-law, Tom Lewin, was a special man who left a legacy of remembrance and love. He was born in Berlin on April 6, 1931. His mother died in childbirth. His father, Egon Lewin, raised him to be fearless, to believe in himself, and to care about others. He learned to ski and love the outdoors. A young Jewish boy, he grew up in Nazi Germany. His father sent him to England with a family friend in 1939 as conditions in Germany worsened. He did not speak any English when he left but he quickly learned and adapted. He had no doubt he would be reunited with his father. His father stayed behind to help other family members. Not all succeeded in leaving. Among those who did not was Tom's grandmother, Recha Lewin, who died in a cattle car en route to a Nazi death camp. Tom later traveled by ship to New York, and then by train to Minneapolis where he was joined by his father in 1945.
His father invented processes for alarm systems and was granted patents in Germany and the U.S. He established Automatic Alarm Services, which Tom took over in 1951 after his father's unexpected early death and built into a business which was acquired by 3M where he worked until he retired.
He married Rhoda Lewin and raised four children, Ellen, Susan, Kate and Jeff. He remembered and studied history with a special emphasis on his roots in Eastern Europe. He loved the Boundary Waters. He traveled often, more so after retirement, and documented his travels with photos and travel logs. He made friends easily and those he met often became lifelong friends. He was active in Temple Israel and donated a Torah from Tabor in the Czech Republic which had been stolen during World War II for a memorial the Nazis planned to build to celebrate the destruction of the Jews. He developed a personal interest in those he met and was kind and generous. He was interested in world affairs and shared articles with his extended family and friends up until he died quietly on December 13.