Mary Lewis, former assistant to then-VP George H.W. Bush, dies

Mary Cherry Lewis, a former special assistant to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush who also wrote political novels, died of cancer July 22 at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Millersville resident was 62.

Born and raised in Newark, Del., she was the daughter of Charles Reed Esray Lewis Jr., a DuPont worker, and Dorothy Cherry, a homemaker.

She was a 1973 graduate of Newark High School and obtained a degree in political science from the University of Delaware. In 1984 she received a master’s degree in business administration from American University.

According to a family biography, Ms. Lewis worked on Capitol Hill, first as an intern in the Washington office of Delaware Sen. William V. Roth, and later becoming a staff member on the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. She handled issues related to economic policy, the federal budget and fiscal policy issues during Mr. Roth’s time as committee chair.

From 1985 to 1987, Ms. Lewis became special assistant to Vice President Bush. She developed a reorganization plan for his office, which at the time had 90 workers and a $3 million annual budget. She managed financial and administrative issues and worked on special projects.

While on a vacation on the Island of Guadalupe, she met her future husband, attorney Randall D. Fisher. They sat next to each other in a restaurant and began talking.

“We then spent a day touring around and later talked on the beach until 4 a.m.,” said Mr. Fisher. “We agreed to meet again when we got to Miami to change planes, but she couldn't make it. I sent her a dozen red roses and we agreed to meet one more time. I was living in Texas and flew to Maryland and took her to an Orioles game for our first date.”

They married Aug. 20, 1988 in a church in Cecil County.

From 1987 to 1989, Ms. Lewis was an executive assistant and later special assistant in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She advised an assistant secretary on policy and administrative matters.

She later worked as a reporter for a medical trade publication, MDDI Reports, in Washington.

She and her husband lived in Coudersport, Pa., and Rehoboth Beach, Del., before moving to Millersville. She worked with him in his law practice in Annapolis.

“Since the beginning, her title was ‘boss,’” said her husband. “But she billed herself as director of marketing and finance.”

In 2012, using the name M.C. Lewis, she wrote a Washington political novel, “Spin Doctor.”

“It was a fast-paced book, steeped in politics, aimed at the greater truths,” her husband said. “It’s the story of a press secretary who tries to figure out what is honest trust and what is spin. The central character goes from working in the House of Representatives to the Executive Branch, and becomes the voice of a presidential campaign.”

Ms. Lewis continued her writing in “Potomac Lights,” a prequel to “Spin Doctor.”

“Her writing was humorous,” her husband said. “She had a light touch. It made me laugh. It was an easy read.”

Ms. Lewis was a gardener and raised tomatoes and herbs. She also liked annuals and cultivated a variety of tall snapdragons. A cook, she favored simple and tasty dishes.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 20 at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Severna Park, where she was a member. She also served on board of Woods Wise, a church nonprofit that distributes funds to the needy.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Thomas Winstead Lewis Fisher of Millersville; a daughter, Dorothy Lewis Fisher of Newark, Del.; her mother, Dorothy Cherry Lewis of Newark; and her brother, Charles Reed Esray Lewis III of Arlington, Va.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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