Gais, Hebe Juanita Lewis Died Early Morning

St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Gais, Hebe Juanita Lewis Died Early Morning


Gais, Hebe Juanita Lewis died early morning, April 4, 2017, in north St. Louis County. She was born to Sarah Adams and John Anders Lewis in Morehead, Kentucky, on August 18, 1921. She was the eighth of ten children-seven girls and three boys-all of whom were raised on a farm on Christy Creek, a few miles east of Morehead, flanked by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. After graduating from Breckinridge Training School, Hebe (or Juanita or sometimes "Juanie") attended Morehead State Teachers College. In 1942, during her sophomore year, Ms. Lewis was recruited to be a Curtiss-Wright Cadette, a program funded by the federal government and operated by the airplane manufacturer and several universities to train young women with strong math skills to become engineers and design airplanes for the war effort. After completing her intensive training at the University of Texas at Austin, she went to St. Louis to work for Curtiss-Wright in 1944. Later she worked at McDonnell Aircraft and Emerson Electric. In between these jobs, she was a buyer trainee for Stix Baer and Fuller, where she accumulated a lovely wardrobe but returned to engineering to pay off the bills. Near the end of 1946, she began dating Frederick Sandford Gais, an engineer from Rochester, New York. Despite a botched first date, they fell in love and married in St. Louis on September 11, 1949. She left her job at Emerson Electric in 1950 when she was pregnant with her first child, Susan. Hebe and Fred then went on to have five more children: Thomas, Joseph, Jennifer, Sarah, and Nancy. After Joseph was born, they moved out of their small home in Florissant into a north St. Louis County house they constructed from a barn perched on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River and Pelican Island. Hebe loved, cherished, and cared for three generations of children. Her 16 grandchildren include Alfred and Teresa Tanny (Greene); Hannah and Joseph Gais; Dawn (Eggleston), Jonathon, Jessica, and Austin Gais; Matthew, John, and Zachary Spica; Susan, Samantha, and Jack Broadfoot; and Rachel and Aaron O'Callahan. …

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