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Local State Rep. Kimmi Lewis, a rural advocate, dies following battle with cancer

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The family of local State Representative Kimmi Lewis announced on Friday, Dec. 6 that she had died at age 62 after a third battle with cancer. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 at Our Lady of Guadalupe/St. Patrick Parish in La Junta.

Her family reported that Lewis died at home on her family ranch near Kim, surrounded by family and loved ones.

“Kimmi was many things throughout her life – daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, rancher, business owner, advocate, devout follower of Christ, and proud representative of her rural district in the state legislature,” her family said in a written statement. “But the common threads throughout her time on Earth were her strong ties to the land she was born and raised on and her unwavering principles.”

Lewis was first elected to the Colorado Legislature to represent House District 64 in 2016, beginning her term in 2017. The district includes Baca, Bent, Crowley, Elbert, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Prowers, and Washington counties.

Lewis was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and again in 2018 and continued that battle throughout the 2019 legislative session, according to her family. Her late husband Dave Lewis, a high school sweatheart, died of leukemia shortly after being diagnosed in January 2000. Lewis attended Trinidad State Junior College. She graduated in 1977 and the couple raised six children in Branson. Following her husband’s death, Lewis operated her family’s Muddy Valley Ranch and Dave Lewis Trucking by her self until her children became able to take on the businesses.

Lewis served on the Rural Affairs and Agriculture and Transportation and Local Government committees. Lewis was a lifelong Republican and held every office except Treasurer in the Las Animas County Republican Party. She also served as President of the Trinidad/Las Animas County Republican Women’s Club for 30 years.

As previously stated, Lewis continued her work at the state capitol as she was battling cancer.

“She never let cancer hold her back from reaching her goals and the job at hand,” her family’s statement said. “We know her memory will live on in the people whose lives she so generously impacted, and in the land and way of life she worked so hard to protect.”

A vacancy committee will fill Lewis’ seat.

Said her family, “To her constituents, she was their voice in the state capitol; to her colleagues, an inexhaustible resource for all matters related to agriculture and property rights; to her neighbors and community, a resolute and unflagging defender of their rights and way of life; but to us, she was the epitome of a strong, passionate, and heroic American who was committed to her family while faithfully serving her community.  Her patriotism, strength, and resolve were unmatched and we pray her character lives on in all of us.”

Condolences for the Lewis family poured in over the weekend from across the state.

Gov. Jared Polis said Lewis would be “dearly missed,” and called her “A champion for cattle producers and for Colorado water, her staunch passion was evident in everything she did and everyone she interacted with.”

State Senator Larry Crowder said of Lewis, “Her legacy for the representation of southern Colorado will be remembered for years to come. I was always impressed by her devotion to her children and her ability to be a good cattle woman. I was always in awe of how she was a steward of the land and how she found her niche in the cattle business and to promote the industry as she did. She will be missed. (She had the) values of a true southern Colorado native.”

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck praised Lewis and her commitment to the Eastern Plains in a written statement.

“Kimmi has been a strong advocate for our state’s farmers and ranchers,” Buck said. “She will be remembered as a treasured member of the community who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Coloradans.”

Her family is asking, through her obituary, that those desiring to honor Lewis may make memorial contributions to either Sangre de Cristo Hospice, 1207 Pueblo Blvd. Way, Pueblo, Colo. 81005; or R-CALF USA, P.O. Box 30715, Billings, Mont. 59107; or a charity of your choice.  

Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory, 401 Raton Ave., La Junta, is in charge of arrangements.

Lewis remembered by colleagues, friends as a voice for agriculture, property rights

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