Last Friday, Shropshire, who was on the Athens City Council while living in Athens, succumbed to injuries that he received after being hit by a car close to his home while he was walking across Riverbend Parkway on Nov. 15.
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As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, the accident is still under investigation, according to Athens-Clarke police.
Shropshire, who was not far from turning 75, was heavily involved in the community including the Rotary Club and Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve known him for many years and having worked with him the last two years through his board leadership, he was a man of genuine service,” said Sarah McKinney, president of the Athens Area Community Foundation where Shropshire was on the board of directors.
“He had a genuine commitment to accuracy and morality. He was every nonprofit’s dream for a board member,” she said.
Shropshire, who worked at Benson’s Inc. for 44 years, was a charter member of the Classic City Rotary Club, which formed in 1975.
“Lewis was always here, always cracking jokes. He was a lively man and it’s very sad the way we lost him,” said Rotary President Charlie Fleming.
Shropshire also served on the Athens City Council between 1976 and 1985 and served part of the time as mayor pro tem, according to his obituary.
Even with much of his time dedicated to several civic organizations, he was also part of the Athens Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America and purchased his first Model A Ford when he joined in 2009, said club president John Wagner.
“Two weeks ago he and Pam (his wife) hosted the monthly antique car club out at Thompson Lake and he showed us his new acquisition – a 1940 Buick four-door convertible. He was proud of it,” Wagner said.
He also owned a 1928 Ford Phaeton that he drove in Christmas parades and brought tailgating at University of Georgia football games, according to Wagner, who said Shropshire and his wife were going to become judges for national car shows.
Frank Reaves of Athens, a long-time friend of Shropshire spent many hours on hunting and fishing excursions with his friend.
“We went fishing in Alaska for years,” Reaves recalled. “We figured the fish cost us about $500 a piece and it was still worth it.”
According to Shropshire’s obituary, he loved jogging so much that he ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta for 36 consecutive years.
“He’d run and it didn’t matter if it was in Alaska in the rain or snow, or here in the hot sun,” Reaves said.
“He did so much for so many people. I’ve known him to make financial contributions anonymously to worthy causes for people in need,” Reaves said. “The preacher asked us at the hospital before he passed to describe him in one word. I thought that would be something you’d have to think about, but it came out so fast – mentor – he could show you the way to do anything from being a friend to working on a car.”
At PDW, just as with the rest of the Athens community, we are saddened by the loss of our friend personally and regret the loss of a leader of grace and substance. Lewis helped and inspired all of us with his passion and dedication and we are diminished by his tragic passing.