Gavin Rhodes Lewis 1946 - 2020

Gavin Rhodes Lewis, age 74, of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, passed away Saturday, October 31, 2020. He was born October 31, 1946, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to H. Roberta and L. Rhodes Lewis while Rhodes served in the U.S. Navy in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack. Gavin grew up in La Grande, Oregon, before finishing his senior year of high school at Memorial High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He enrolled at UW-Eau Claire, where he studied under his father, who at the time was the chairman of the UW-Eau Claire Music Department. Gavin earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at UW-EC. In 1975, he received his Master of Arts – Trumpet Performance from the University of Iowa, and in 1984, he received his Doctor of Musical Arts – Band Conducting from the University of Iowa.

Gavin taught as a music professor at Eastern Washington University, as well as Bemidji State University and College of St. Benedict, St. Johns University in Minnesota. His public school teaching took Gavin from Regis High School in Eau Claire and Wisconsin Dells High School, both in Wisconsin, to McMinnville High School in Oregon, Federal Way High School in Washington, Puyallup School District in Washington and, finally, to the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, where he retired to teaching private trumpet lessons.

Throughout his professional career, Gavin enjoyed performing as a soloist and in numerous ensembles and symphony orchestras in Washington, Oregon, Texas and Mexico. In El Paso, Gavin started a brass quintet that still plays most Sundays at his church, St. Marks United Methodist Church.

His faith, music, teaching, family and community were important to Gavin. He was hard-working, driven and focused, generous almost to a fault. Gavin found joy in lunch dates with his friends; enjoying the beauty of Victoria, B.C., Canada, the Wallowa Lake area in northeast Oregon and the many historical treasures of the south. He loved his family, his country, and Lord Jesus with all his heart.

Gavin was preceded in death by his parents, L. Rhodes Lewis and Roberta (Palmquist) Lewis. He is survived by his daughter, Stephanie Lewis and fiancé Dean Bortz; siblings, Trevor Lewis, Scott Lewis, and Lisa (Allen) Cavallo; and grandchildren, Anthony Caroselli and Zachary Caroselli. He is also survived by nieces/nephews, Spencer (Sarah) Lewis, Garrett (Jamie) Lewis, Shepherd Lewis, Robert Cavallo, Elizabeth Cavallo, and Ronald Cavallo; and great-nieces/nephews, Lilly, Johnny, Ashleigh, Emma, Maddison, Tegan and Olivia.

A memorial service is planned for 1:00 p.m. Sunday, November 15, at St. Marks United Methodist Church, 5005 Love Road, El Paso, Texas. The service will be live-streamed with the link available on the church website at In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial gifts to the Rhodes and Roberta Lewis Music Scholarship Fund at UW-Eau Claire (Alumni + Foundation page), St. Marks United Methodist Church, Wounded Warrior Project, local veterans' groups and/or local law enforcement agencies, as these organizations were dear to Gavin's heart.

Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Homes-West.


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