San Francisco State University
May 31, 1976
Dear Miss Scott,
I just received your letter dated May 25th and I am very sorry I cannot have the pleasure of meeting you to speak about our Friend Dr. Samuel L Lewis. I am about (in two days) to leave for Europe where I have to stay for one year or more to do research work on a book on Egypt I am writing. As I understand the urgency you have to gather data about your Friend, I will try to put in writing whatever I remember of him.
Dr. Lewis came to one of my courses at U.C. Extension in S.F. ca. 1955 or 1956 and after that time he continued to attend my courses, almost all of them, until the unfortunate time when he prematurely passed away. My subject matter being mainly Mediterranean Archeology and Religions he was especially interested in both. At the beginning I thought of him as one of the majority of my students, an adult, retired gentleman who wanted to find refuge in the studies of the Ancient Civilizations as an escape from our too hectic and troubled way of living. As I vividly still see him in my mind, he was a quiet, unassuming gentleman, with kind manners, a sweet smile and a very intelligent face. He began asking questions always to the point, sensible, which sometimes led the two of us to very interesting, constructive discussions which I thought (and they seem to be) very constructive and stimulating also for the rest of the class. At times in my evening courses I had an attendance of ca. 50-70 students, which for an Extension class is a considerable figure. But Dr. Lewis stood up from his rest of the audience because of his interesting personality. At first I was puzzled as he showed to be not an ordinary man but someone who was very learned in a field which was related to the one I was teaching. In fact when he became better acquainted I found out that he held a PhD and his fields was in the Eastern Religion. One of Dr. Lewis qualities was his humility which was as profound as his knowledge and wisdom.
Actually the real great scholars are very modest as they know quite well that the more one knows the more one is aware that he does not know anything. Dr. Lewis recalled to my mind, in own Western knowledge, Socrates, the Greek Philosopher who was just as simple, as humble and as modest (according to our tradition) as Dr. Lewis. He sent me one of his beautiful poem on “Saladin” which I cherish and admire. He sent me occasionally some of his publications and soon quiet a good friendship was formed between us as we discovered that we both were looking for that truth, which for me and my Egyptian studies is Maat, while for him it was the same basic truth which is the cosmic order and is reflected in the Moral Order in men.
During the period he was attending my courses, he organized for me a very interesting program with his students. I remember what a pleasant evening it was at U.C. Extensions with his handsome, well-behaving young people who played beautiful music, danced, recited poetry. Because another good quality of Dr. Lewis was that he loved young people whom he tried to lead on the right path of life. He was a “guru” in the true good, honest way (not as so many that today go around exploiting the inexperience of life of young people and deceive them). When he passed away I felt that we have lost a great, good man who could have contributed so much to the good of our world.
I am a believer in my religion and since the time he passed away I pray for him every day as I pray for my family.
I must state once again that Dr. Samuel Lewis was one of the most outstanding, remarkable man for his knowledge and wisdom and one of the kindest, unselfish, humble persons I ever met.
I apologize for writing and not typing but I have no typewriter and I don’t want to leave the States without contributing in a very small way to pay homage to a gentleman and a scholar who was also my friend.
I hope this frank opinion of mine can help you; however if you need more explanations and you like to ask me more questions, my temporary address in Italy is:
c/o Admiral Paolo Comel di Socebran
Viale Antignano 37
Please convey my best greetings to all his disciples with my congratulations for all the good work they have been doing. The world should have more young people like you, to go back to a better shape!
Dr. Andreina Leanza Becker-Colonna