By Jackie Bushman
-- Chances are, you didn't know her or have even heard her name. She preferred it that way, always putting the spotlight on others. But as media relations manager of two of the world's largest hunting and fishing organizations, Ann Lewis indirectly touched the lives of countless outdoorsmen.
Our friend and former co-worker passed away recently in Birmingham, Ala., after a lengthy illness. She was 62.
Ann joined us eight years ago after an already long and successful career. From 1983-1999, she was press relations manager for the Bass Angler's Sportsman Society, helping to shape coverage of the Bassmaster Classic and numerous events on the Bassmaster tournament trail.
Ann also handled publicity and media for Ray Scott Outdoors, was general manager of a radio station, worked in the Alabama governor's office, and ran her own media relations company: ASL Outdoors. She confided to a friend that her most recent position, director of evangelism and communications at Christchurch in Montgomery, Ala., was her most satisfying. "If someone had explained Jesus Christ to me the way they did," she said, "I'd have made it a career field right out of college. I love what I'm doing."
At Buckmasters, Ann helped spread the news about the Expo, our Top Bow archery tournaments and the many banquets and events put on by our non-profit arm, the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation.
Her coworkers and industry friends remember her way of putting others at ease and her coolness under the stress of big events. And even though she preferred to work behind the scenes, she was a shining star in the PR world, respected by pro outdoorsmen and hunting and fishing scribes alike.
Many of us will remember Ann not just for her wit and easygoing charm, but also her toughness. Even though in her last year she was battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, she never lost her smile or her faith.
Ann is survived by her parents, Charley and Gladys Smith of Birmingham. We will miss her.