Benjamin Waldo Lewis was baptised at Salem, Mass. within a week of his eleventh birthday, but less than three years later the family had moved back closer to the extended family in south Wales . They moved to Tylorstown and, in July 1891 , enrolled as members at Hermon , Pontygwaith . There he was persuaded to begin preaching , at the same time as James Thomas Evans (see above) , the principal of the Baptist College , Bangor . He began to earn his living in a colliery , at first underground and then in the smithy . After taking night-classes for some 7-8 years he was accepted for a period of about a year to 18 months at the Pontypridd Academy (again along with J.T. Evans and another of his friends, Ben Bowen , DWB , 46) . From 1900-05 he went to the Baptist College and University College , Cardiff where he graduated B.A. in 1905 . From 1905-08 he attended the Presbyterian College , Carmarthen where he suffered a breakdown in his health in the middle of his B.D. course. He was ordained on 21 Jan. 1909 as the minister of Penuel , Carmarthen , where he had already enrolled in membership during his college days. This was his only pastorate until his retirement in 1946 , when he was appointed honorary minister . During World War I , c. May 1915-Nov 1916 , he was released by his church to work with the Y.M.C.A. , first of all for some months at Dover and thereafter, for almost a year, in Malta . There he was promoted to become a ‘ Regional Leader ’, thereby being responsible for all the work of the Society on the island. He died at his home at Briarleigh , Longacre Road on 31 Dec. 1953 , after a long illness which followed an accident at Borth the previous September. He was buried at Carmarthen public cemetery on 4 Jan. 1954 .
He was married on 14 June 1922 at Zion English Presbyterian church , Carmarthen to Enid Mari Wheldon (b. 14 Mar. 1892 ), a native of Crickhowell , the daughter of Pierce Jones Wheldon and Louisa Arnaud Wheldon (née MacKenzie ) . Her father was the manager of the National Provincial bank and a brother of Thomas Jones Wheldon ( 1841 - 1916 , DWB , 1015-6) , who had settled in Carmarthen in 1900 . She died 2 May 1963 at Glangwili Hospital , Carmarthen . There was one son of the marriage.
For very many years B.J. Lewis was an active supporter of a variety of movements and good causes in the town of Carmarthen and its environs, e.g. he was for 35 years a member and also the chairman of the governing body of Carmarthen hospital . When the National Health Service Act was enacted in 1947 , he became a member of the Welsh Regional Hospital Board and chairman of the governing body of the West Wales hospital . He was a member of the governing body of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School from 1917 onward and its chairman in 1944 . Until 1944 he was a member of the Carmarthen Borough education committee ; a member of the County Library Committee ; a member of the South West Wales branch of the Historical Society founded in 1931 and its chairman from the end of World War II until March 1950 ; chairman of the Community Council established in the town in 1932 to allay the distress of unemployment; the first chairman of the Carmarthen Christian Churches' Council ; a member of the Carmarthen Arts Club ; chairman of the committee of Baptist students of the Presbyterian College and a member of its board of Trustees. Throughout his life he was a student and collector of books ; he conducted extra-mural courses under the auspices of the University College , Aberystwyth . He lectured at the Presbyterian College during the illness of J. Oliver Stephens (see below) in 1928-29 . He contributed extensively to the literature of the Baptist denomination, e.g. a series of articles on the Baptists among the other denominations in Seren Cymru 1930 , and between 1911 and 1937 intermittent lessons for the syllabus of the Sunday school for Yr Hauwr and Yr Arweinydd Newydd . He was elevated to become president of the Carmarthen and Cardigan Baptist Association in 1946-47 and the subject of his address was, ‘ Yr hyn a erys ’. Politically, he was at first a Liberal , but at the general election of Dec. 1923 , he turned publicly to the Labour Party , becoming a pioneer of the movement in the town and thereafter a close friend of Daniel Hopkin ( 1886 - 1951 ) who in May 1929 was elected as Member of Parliament for the county.
His wife was an able musician , and she, like her husband, was prominent in public circles, e.g. president and chairman of the Arts Club ; a member of the Amateur Operatic Society in the town; a member of the South Wales Consultative Council of the National Assistance Board ; a member of the management committee of the County Nursing Association ; a member of the house committee of Kensington Hospital in Pembrokeshire and prominent in the work of the W.V.S.
Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth
Published date: 2001