Melvin E. Lewis, 90, former chief accountant for the U.S. Postal Rate Commission who was active in several Jewish
organizations in Washington, died of pneumonia March 12 at his home in Haifa, Israel, where he had lived since 2005.
Before joining the postal rate commission, Mr. Lewis was with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission from its
inception in 1961 as an accountant and later as its first executive director. He also taught cost accounting at American University
into the 1980s, when he retired.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. Lewis grew up in the old Southwest section of the city, where he learned the Torah and the
traditions of Orthodox Judaism. He graduated from the old Central High School and attended Southeastern University. He
received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from George Washington University. He served as a combat soldier in the
First U.S. Army during World War II and landed on Omaha Beach with his tefillin, prayer book and Bible in his pack. He also
helped to liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. His awards include the Bronze Star.
After the war, Mr. Lewis supported and participated in numerous Zionist groups. He traveled to the Soviet Union on behalf of the
Campaign to Free Soviet Jewry, was a member of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, and supported the Jewish Historical
Society of Greater Washington.
Mr. Lewis and his wife, Beatrice F. Lewis, took a leadership role in establishing the Hebrew Academy of Washington. He served
six terms as president of Washington's Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah congregation, overseeing its expression. He also was
active in Boy Scouts.
His wife died in 2003.
Survivors include three children, Betsy Lewis Yizraeli of Haifa, Steven Lewis of Newton, Mass., and Michael Lewis of Los
Angeles; three sisters, Libbey Sussan of Gainesville, Va., Mollie Lewis Berch of Silver Spring and Rose Lewis Glaser of
Bethesda; one brother, Philip Lewis of Washington; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.