April 25, 1929 - January 1, 2017
Ernie Lewis was the President of Concord American beginning in 1965. At that time there were only 4 major teams and 4 minor teams. He then went on to become the first District Administrator for District 4 and remained there from 1969 until 2010 – 40 years! He immersed himself in the purpose and significance of the program as a member of the Little League International Board of Directors and the President’s Advisory Board.
Ernie continued to provide guidance for leagues, always reminding them that the "Little League program is not just for those few very talented players, but for all children, regardless of their ability.”
When he was elected California District 4 Administrator in 1969, Little League was celebrating its 30th anniversary, and still a boys-only program. At that time, he assumed the responsibility for 24 local leagues in a territory ranging from Napa to San Ramon, to Alameda in the West and East to Rio Vista. This same area now covers not only District 4, but portions of Districts 53, 57, and 64 as well.
In the 1970s, he oversaw the expansion of Little League into the Teenage Divisions, chartering the first Senior League and Big League Baseball programs. In 1974, when Little League opened its program to girls and created its softball program, he was instrumental in pushing the softball program in his district. Today, half (8) of the leagues in California District 4 charter softball.
He also embraced change as was the case with the creation of District 4’s Challenger program. Since the year that he started the district’s Challenger program, the district-wide program has grown to its current 25 teams.
In 1981, he was elected as the Western Region’s representative to the Little League International Board of Directors and after his term on the Board, was then was asked to serve on the President’s Advisory Board.
Under his guidance, the district has continued to achieve 100 percent participation in the Little League’s A Safety Awareness Plan (ASAP).
Ernie’s belief and enthusiasm for Little League’s goals and ideals have had a profound impact on leagues throughout Northern California. Without volunteers like him, Little League would not be able hold its place as a model for leadership training and youth sports development.
He will be greatly missed in the baseball community, but what he has built will remain forever.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and his children Karan (Vince) Barich, Ray (Martha) Lewis, Maureen (Michael) Thomas, and grandchildren Michael, Katie, Joe and Eleni. The Lewis Family has requested that, "In lieu of flowers and gifts, please send a donation to Concord American Little League in memory of Ernie Lewis."