Faded Sandpaper

Jewell Lewis

Jewell McFarland Lewis was born in Fairfield, Iowa, she came by train to live in Arizona at a mere 6 weeks old. She was heavily influenced by her father, the late Ernest W. McFarland, who served his state and country as a U.S. Senator, Senate Majority Leader, Governor and Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. He was a founder of Arizona Television Company, KTVK Channel 3, in 1955 which began the family’s introduction to the communications industry. Jewell leaves behind a brilliant legacy of compassion, service and stewardship for the state she loved, and causes for which she truly believed. She was passionate about education. Jewell graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona, received her M.A. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and earned a Ph.D. in secondary reading from Arizona State University. She taught for almost 20 years in Florence and Coolidge. Her commitment to education is further demonstrated by the generous gifts of $2 million to each of Arizona’s universities given by she and her husband Delbert. The “mom and pop” status she and Del earned as owners of KTVK Channel 3 became a trademark in the industry. In 1994, Jewell became the first Phoenix woman inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter’s Silver Circle Society. When the Lewis’ sold Channel 3 in 1999, it was the largest family-owned media company in the United States. That stature allowed her the resources to affect countless organizations and causes. And as she embraced those causes, she exuded a genuine, caring spirit that always made a difference. Her civic activities are numerous and varied. Jewell and Del served as co-chairs of the capital campaign for the restoration of the Orpheum Theatre, which re-opened in January, 1997. The auditorium was renamed the “Lewis Auditorium” in honor of Del and Jewell and their family. The Jewell McFarland Lewis Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center, the first self-help center for women in Arizona, opened in April 2002. Her support of the effort is a clear reflection of her passion to help others. Jewell passed away at the age of 73 in 2003.

© Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 2020

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