David Alan Lewis (aka Slick), 73, of Gallatin, Tennessee, died unexpectedly on February 8 at the Sumner County Regional Medical Center. Alan suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Alan was born January 3, 1949, in Gallipolis, Ohio, to the late David Wendell Lewis and Ruth Davis Lewis from Oak Hill, Ohio.
Alan touched many lives. Everywhere he went, he made lifelong friends. Whether it was on the music stage, on the golf course, or at the Last Call, his presence was a light he shared with everyone he met.
Alan was a graduate of Oak Hill High School and attended Ohio University. In 1968, he followed in his beloved father’s footsteps and joined the United States Navy, serving as a communications specialist for four years on the USS Mount Whitney during the Vietnam era.
His love and passion for music defined him. There was no genre he didn’t enjoy, finding something special to embrace in each one and appreciating each for its beauty and uniqueness. He began piano lessons at the early age of five and by the time he was eight, he was playing by ear, crediting the Dick Clark Show and the band Danny and the Juniors. He’d say, “I’d listen so intently and then try to figure out those keys.” He played piano in his hometown band, the Neptunes, and then became enamored with the electric guitar. He taught himself to play the music of the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, and more, which he performed with a band called the Fifth Amendment. Ever curious and inquisitive, Alan conquered a new challenge when he decided to learn to play the steel guitar, an instrument that is one of the most difficult instruments to master because it requires a good ear, nimble fingers, and excellent body control.
While still in the Navy, Alan took that steel guitar and started his musical career. He played with Gary Daniels and Carolina Charlie, which led to headlining for famous artists such as Loretta Lynn, Ray Price, Conway Twitty, and Charlie Pride, to name a few. In 1974, he joined Little Jimmy Dickens, and in 1977, Faron Young, performing at the Grand Ol’ Opry and on the television shows Hee-Haw and Pop Goes the Country. Then, wanting to spend more time with his family and less time traveling, Alan began a successful career welding with Triton Boats, where he stayed until he retired a few years ago.
In addition to his impressive musical talents and unique, funny, and colorful sense of humor, Alan was a lifelong learner. Extremely intelligent and an avid reader, he was always curious and interested in learning more. He was athletic and enjoyed being outdoors. He played numerous sports in high school and was lifeguard at the Oak Hill Pool. He loved fishing and playing golf, but it was golf that brought him real joy and happiness. He refused to ride in a cart, walking and carrying his own bag no matter how challenging the course.
Alan adored his grandchildren. He was very proud of grandson Gabe’s athletic ability and musical talents. Like his grandfather, Gabe plays guitar, as well as violin and drums. Alan’s beloved granddaughter, Tess, brought him great joy on the golf course. He was right by her side for her first Vanderbilt SEC tournament.
A devout Christian, Alan served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher at the First Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He was a man of faith, and his love for God was unwavering. He was kind, humble, well-spoken, and always a gentleman. He found the good in everyone. He had the right words at the right time for any occasion. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” he often said, and he lived by those words.
Alan is survived by his daughter, Leah Lewis Davenport, and her husband, Rod; grandchildren: Gabriel Evan and Tess Elizabeth of Georgia; his brother, Kent Lewis, and Kent’s wife, Heidi, both of Ohio; his nephew, Joshua Lewis and niece, Emily Carter, and her husband, Justin; his first wife of 45 years, Rosalie Evans of Tennessee; and his current wife of seven years, Rhonda Stevens Lewis.
In holding to Alan’s wishes, cremation was chosen. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association of Jackson, Ohio.