Barton Lewis

November 26, 1945 - February 28, 2017
Traverse City, MI



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Life Story / Obituary


Barton Gates Lewis

November 26, 1945 - February 28, 2017

Bart was a seeker, who traveled the world and lived to connect people he met along the way. He introduced explorers, artists, intellectuals, cultures and savers of the planet to each other. During the course of his lifetime he built log cabins, worked in the skiing industry, organized film festivals and rock climbing competitions and pioneered adventure travel in Peru. Bart lived in Canada, Nepal, India and Peru for many years, returning to northern Michigan (Beulah & Traverse City) for the last portion of his life. He traveled to every continent and went to countries few can only dream about and in each case he was working on making the world a better place for native people.

Bart first ventured to Peru in the mid-1960s, as part of a personal exploration of South America and it became his greatest love. Returning to Peru years later he worked with partners in the operation of an ecologically sensitive tourism lodge in the Amazon. His Peruvian interests have ranged from advisory and consultative positions and founding a sustainable development company with lodges/hotels in Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Amazon; Rainforest Health Project (a NGO that sends health care professionals to the Amazon); Institute Machu Picchu (a Peruvian NGO dedicated to the conservation of natural and cultural resources in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and Cusco region); and Children’s Environmental Trust (a US NGO that sends North American middle school students to study in the Amazon). Bart was an advisor to the National Geographic Society’s (NGS) Mission programs. In that capacity he was the key coordinator in NGS’s initiative to facilitate the return of the Machu Picchu artifacts @Yale University to Peru.

"Bart joined the Spirit of Place Design Build Expeditions with Travis Price and The Catholic University of America in 1999. Bart was instrumental in teaching, fundraising, and building extraordinary projects with architectural students in Peru, Nepal, and Ireland. He was active in Spirit of Place continuously until his passing. Bart Lewis was indeed a driving connector and loved by all he met on the Spirit of Place trail. “Travis Price, FAIA. *The family would like noted and for those interested, Bart is mentioned heavily in Travis's book on Spirit of Place - Spirit of Design “ The Mythic Modern” He is in many pictures in the book and those could be lovely memories for all to see. He gave so much of his soul and sweat for these projects. He opened doors to all that no one else could.

He is survived by his sisters, Lynn Hayes, Cindy Lewis, Betsy Hesser and his brother Jon Lewis as well as four nieces; Abby Smith, Meggan Mangino, Brennan Hesser and Jordan Lewis. Also three nephews; Ted Hesser, Ryder Lewis and Jake Lewis, along with many close friends that he considered his family. There will not be a memorial service but through the kindness and love of family and friends his ashes will be spread in Nepal, Ireland, Peru, Canada, Colorado and Grand Traverse Bay, in Michigan. Any donations in his name may be made to the National Geographic Mission programs.

The following is how Bart lived his life:

"Your work is to discover your world, and then with all your heart, give yourself to it." Buddha

A drink precedes a story Irish Proverb quote