James P. Lewis

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James P. "Buddy" Lewis, Sr (born c. 1919 in Dallas County; died June 14, 1995) was a steelworker and notable tennis player and coach.

Lewis grew up in Fairfield, attending Fairfield City Schools. As a youngster, Lewis taught himself to play tennis in vacant lots and pursued the sport passionately throughout his life. He volunteered as a youth tennis coach at Ensley Park, Forest Hills Middle School, Lawson State Community College and Miles College and was honored several times for his community service.

Lewis won the United States Tennis Association's Community Service Award in 1993, and the Sports Illustrated Hometown Hero award (September 12, 1994). In 1995 he was given the Fred Sington Award for Alabama Coach of the Year and in 1996 he was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame. He was also awarded a Key to the City of Birmingham by Mayor Richard Arrington and a "Mayor's Visionary Award" by Fairfield mayor Larry Langford.

He served for four years in the U. S. Army and then spent 43 years and 9 months in the employ of U.S. Steel.

Lewis died of an apparent heart attack in 1995. He was survived by his wife, Mary Frances Fowler Lewis, and son James P. Lewis, Jr. He is interred at Shadow Lawn Memorial Park. The James Lewis Tennis Center in Ensley and the James Lewis Tennis Scholarship Foundation are named in his honor.


  • James P. Lewis, Sr obituary (June 14, 1995) Birmingham News
  • Crenshaw, Solomon, Jr (June 15, 1995) "Tennis teacher James Lewis dies." Birmingham News