Cortez Lewis, 78

Cortez Lewis, 78, of Litchfield, died peacefully Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, at home surrounded by his family after a brief illness. Services were Friday, Aug. 30, at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Hazard, with the Rev. Josh Brown officiating. Burial was in the Litchfield Cemetery. Pallbearers were Russell Zutavern, Coy Lewis, Jose Dimas, Nick Killough, Ronnie Sweley and Bob Riessland. Memorials are suggested to the Litchfield Fire Department or Asera Care Hospice of Kearney. Rasmussen Funeral Home in Ravenna was in charge of arrangements. Cortez Calvin Lewis was born Aug. 18, 1935, near Litchfield, to Melvin and Trena (Lang) Lewis. He was raised on a farm, the younger of two brothers. He graduated from Litch-field High School in 1953. He married Rita Kosmicki April 15, 1961, at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Hazard. To this union four children were born: Lori, Mark, Scott and Holly. Cortez worked for Miss-ouri Valley Construction in his early years, Cortez and Rita then purchased a farm near Litchfield where they raised their family. His enjoyment for operating heavy equipment and working the soil led him to form the business, Lewis Construction. Cortez enjoyed sharing stories of building Interstate 80 and many of the blacktops in western Nebraska. He raised various crops and animals and was a true farmer. He was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Kearney. Survivors include his wife, Rita of 52 years; daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Shawn Zutavern of Dunning; sons, Mark Lewis of Litchfield and Scott Lewis of Tucson, Ariz.; five grandchildren, Drew (Zutavern) and husband Jose Dimas of Omaha, Anna Zutavern and fiancé Nick Killough of Kearney, Russell Zutavern of Dunning, Coy Lewis of Kearney and Taylor Lewis of Tucson, Ariz.; one great-granddaughter, born Aug. 12, 2013, Analeia C. Dimas of Omaha; brother and sister-in-law, Merlyn and Maxine Lewis of Litchfield; brother-in-law, Bill Schuda of Brule, and sister-in-law, Elaine and husband Dick Astine of Kearney. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Holly Lewis on June 22, 2012; two brothers-in-law, Tom Kosmicki and LaVern Kosmicki, and one sister-in-law, Leona Schuda.Published in Custer County Chief, Sept. 5, 2013