Horace Edgar Lewis, former board chairman and president of Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp., died yesterday at his home, 210 Tennyson Ave., Oakland. He was 66.
Mr. Lewis, Welsh immigrant boy who became a steel magnate, contracted pneumonia early last week. Ill health forced him to retire last year.
His 40-year career is a success story typical in the American tradition. He was born in Pontardulais, Wales, the son of a Welsh tin mill roller. His family moved to Harrisburg, Pa., in 1896, when he was 14, and later settled at Martins Ferry, O.
In 1899, at the age of 17, he became a steel worker at the Carnegie Steel Company's Duquesne Works. He remained there until 1906 and left to join the Bethlehem Steel Co. By 1916 he was executive vice president.
Leaving Bethlehem in 1930, Mr. Lewis became chairman of the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company's executive committee in Columbus, O.
He remained with Jeffreys, manufacturers of mine appliances, until 1936, when elected chairman of the board of directors and executive committee member of J. & L.
Two years later, when President S. E. Hackett resigned, Mr. Lewis was elevated to that position as well as board chairman.
Resigning last year, he was succeeded by Adm. Ben Moreell.
Mr. Lewis also was director of the Jeffrey manufacturing Co., British Jeffrey-Diamond Ltd., Wakefield, England; Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Co., of Detroit; Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Co., Ltd., Dagenham Dock, England; The Ohio Malleable Iron Co., Columbus; The Galion Iron Works and Manufacturing Co., Galion, O.; and honorary vice president of the American Iron and Steel Institute.
He was a member of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and a decade ago headed the Pittsburgh Convention and Tourist Bureau Inc.
His clubs were the Metropolitan, City Midday and Cloud (all of New York City), the Duquesne, Rolling Rock Country, Fox Chapel Golf, Oakmont Country, Pittsburgh Golf and Oakland Hills and Detroit Athletic, of Detroit. He also was active in the Civic Opera Assn. And the Community Chest.
In politics Mr. Lewis was a Republican. In 1942 there was talk of him as a candidate for governor but he poured cold water on it. He said he could serve the war effort better by staying at J. & L.
He was an enemy of Government controls in business and several years ago in his annual report he called Government price and wage fixing 'impractical and unsound."
Surviving are his widow Mrs. Helen Sanders Lewis, a doughtier, Emily Lewis Gillespie, Long Island, N. Y., two sons, James Edgar Lewis, Los Angeles, and Edgar Sanders Lewis of San Francisco; three sisters, Mrs. Charles R. Holton, Bethlehem, Pa.; Mrs. Robert Chew, Lakewood, O., and Mrs. Olive L. Fowler, Lakewood, O; and three brothers, W. Luther Lewis, New York City, T. Albert Lewis, Bethlehem and A. W. Lewis, Los Angeles.
Funeral services will be held at the residence, tomorrow at 4 p.m. Burial will be in St. Paul, Minn., his widow's former home.
Mr. Lewis was an Episcopalian and was a member of the Church of the Redeemer.