Lewis Edwin Gass
Published 3:09 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021
February 19, 1943 – December 12, 2021
Lewis E. Gass, 78, of Elizabethton, passed away on Sunday, December 12, 2021, at Sycamore Shoals Hospital after a brief illness.
Lewis was born on February 19, 1943, in Greeneville, Tenn., to the late Charles Hardin Gass and Hazel Casteel Gass. He was one of 12 children.
He received his elementary and secondary education in Elizabethton. An outstanding athlete in football and basketball at Elizabethton High School, Lewis was selected for the Johnson City Press-Chronicle All Big Seven Football Conference and Journal-Coaches All East Tennessee team in 1960. He was the Cyclones Team Captain and all-state tackle, winning the Bulldog Laws Award in 1960. He was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee. In 1962, he transferred to Carson-Newman College where he met Brenda (Philpot), his wife of 55 years.
In 1965, Lewis enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the Third Marine Division, Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Alpha Company, during the Vietnam War, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor.
He returned to Tennessee after his military service and completed his B.S. in Industrial Arts at East Tennessee State University. In 1973, Lewis began his teaching and coaching career at Elizabethton High School. He was selected as the Jaycees Young Educator of the Year that same year. During this time, his two daughters, Tobie and Carrie Bette, were born. His family moved to Georgia where he continued to teach, coach, and mentor in the Cobb County School System for 22 years. At the end of his career, he was honored on the North Cobb High School Teachers’ Wall of Fame.
His impact is enduring, and over the years, Lewis received many letters and phone calls from former students updating him on their lives and the influential role he had played. In late 2021, “Coach Gass” was inducted into the North Cobb Athletic Hall of Fame. For his daughters and students, Lewis exhibited and inspired the ideals of leadership, commitment, sacrifice, honor and compassion.
Lewis’ retirement years were spent in Elizabethton where he enjoyed gardening, construction projects, keeping up with local and national events, feeding the wildlife, doting on his dogs and most of all being helpful to family and neighbors.
Lewis leaves behind his wife Brenda, daughters Tobie Gass and Carrie Bette Bretz, and son-in-law Justin Bretz. He also leaves behind his twin sister Lois Schaff and brothers Michael Gass and Bobby Jack Gass, sisters-in-law Shea Gass and Patricia Gass, and brother-in-law Bill Schaff. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Hazel Gass, brothers Bill, Everett Lee, Duane, Phil and Jimmy, and sisters Christine, Joan and Alice.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter at 135 Sycamore Shoals Drive, Elizabethton, TN 37643. Condolences and remembrances can be conveyed through the Memorial Funeral Chapel, Elizabethton, Tenn., at www.memorialfcelizabethton.com.