Johnny Henry Lewis

June 6, 1945 – Jan. 18, 2021 

Longtime Cody, Wyo., resident Johnny H. Lewis passed away from heart complications in Bozeman, Mont., on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, with his family at his side. 

Johnny was born on June 6, 1945 in Greybull, Wyo., where he graduated from high school. He moved to Cody in 1965.

He said it was “love at first sight” when he met his high school sweetheart and future wife, Anna A. Schmidt, in grade school. They married in 1965, sharing almost 56 years together. He affectionately called her “Annie.” 

She resides in Bozeman with their golden-doodle dog Lynse Ann. Their children are G. Shane Lewis (Beth) of Bozeman and M. Shauna Shaw (Lance) of Cheyenne, Wyo.  Grandchildren are Lars, Gregory, McKethen, Marshall, Meghan, Amy, Cole and Jenny.

Johnny, an ordinary man with a toughness and grit for life, easily made new friends over a cup of coffee and excelled at every endeavor, whether it was work or recreation.  He lived by the motto on his hard hat, “All lost time” — meaning time is precious, don’t waste it.

As a youngster he worked with farmers and ranchers in the Big Horn County area of Burlington/Otto/Emblem, cleaned bricks at the old Greybull refinery for recycling and set pins in the Greybull bowling alley. In high school, he worked at Collingwood Motors in everything from maintenance to night security, using part of his income to buy a Pontiac GTO and become a winning member of the Collingwood Motors drag racing team that competed in several states. 

He spent most of his life working for Boydston-Franzen Well Service around the Big Horn Basin, eventually becoming one of the people those in the oil field industry relied upon. That led to a later career as an oilfield consultant around Wyoming and eastern Montana. Job safety was always a priority for Johnny; he would say, “Only work as fast as what is safe.” He took pride in taking care of his crew.  He would often grill chicken in a barbeque sauce with pineapple to feed his crew at lunch.

Johnny loved to explore the outdoors and share those experiences with friends and family through hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, boating, four-wheeling or riding horses, dirt bikes and bicycles. He knew almost every topographic feature of the badlands and mountains of northwestern Wyoming. One of his treasured hunting trips was to Alaska for a trophy caribou.

He would always find a spot with “Annie” to stop and look at the scenery and growing wildflowers, watch the wildlife grazing, roast a hotdog on a stick over a fire, and exercise his many well-loved dogs over the decades: Lynse Ann, Nikita, Tucker, Rusty, and Jericho. Even late in life, he found a way to drive around his cherished Cody outdoor areas with “Annie.” He enjoyed learning about science, engineering, and history and appreciated riddles, limericks, jokes, and cowboy poetry. His kids and grandkids are still wondering who is “Ed-Kish-Cash-Sam-Callie-Brown”. Before the invention of the personal computer and Internet, he would read the encyclopedia from A-to-Z. He enjoyed watching western movies and TV shows, music and dancing with “Annie.” In middle age he took up distance running for his health and quickly won competitions such as the Meeteetse Labor Day Race. Although he was not able to donate his organs to science or another person, he was able to donate his implanted, life-extending pacemaker/defibrillator heart device to an organization for refurbishment and possibly save the life of a person in a developing nation.

He mastered everything that interested him, such as shooting, reloading ammunition, alpine skiing, and perfecting the double haul flycasting technique to catch that big brookie far out in streams and lakes. He could cook up a stack of the tastiest, lightest, and fluffiest pancakes that he called “golden hummers,” all the while dancing to Tom T. Hall songs. Johnny expressed his creativity through drawing log cabin mountain scenes, funny faces with a big goofy smile, and occasionally, after a big Cody snowstorm, building a big-eared snow rabbit instead of a snowman for his kids, the neighborhood kids, and grandkids.

Johnny’s knowledge and wit made him an attraction at coffee clubs from Cody to Thermopolis and Lovell. More than one person was a victim of his pranks, from planting newly made arrowheads around oilfield offices to adding a gallon of fuel to the gas tank of those who bragged about their vehicle mileage.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Martha and William Lewis; his brother, Reuben Lewis; and his sister, Cecil Yates. Johnny’s surviving brothers and brothers-in-law are Howard Lewis of Greybull, Billy Lewis of Colorado, Pat Schmidt of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Andy Schmidt of Casa Grande, Ariz.

At Johnny’s request no services are being held. Johnny loved animals. Any memorial gift contributions may be made in his name to the Park County Animal Shelter in Cody.  Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service