Elected in 1971
“For contributions to aerospace management in conception,
development, and production of aircraft and spacecraft.”
BY ROBERT J. PATTON
DAVID S. LEWIS, JR., a major force in the nation’s aerospace industry and former chief executive officer of General Dynamics, died on December 15, 2003, at the age of 86.
David Sloan Lewis, Jr., was born on July 6, 1917, in North Augusta, South Carolina. His father, Dick Lewis, was an executive with Standard Oil of New Jersey and was transferred to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1933. Dave graduated from Columbia High School in 1934. After studying engineering at the University of South Carolina for three years, he transferred to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering in 1939.
After graduation he joined the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore and during World War II worked on many new aircraft designs in the aerodynamics department. There Dave met his wife, Dorothy, who also worked at the Martin Company, and they were married on December 20, 1941.
In 1946, Lewis joined the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis as chief of aerodynamics. There he worked on the FH-2 Phantom, the U.S. Navy’s first jet aircraft, the F2H, and the F-101 for the U.S. Air Force. McDonnell formed an Advanced Design Department with Lewis as head. They developed the Navy’s F-4 Phantom II. McDonnell delivered more that 5,000 F-4s to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force and to