on May 14, 2014 - 10:33 PM
Oct. 10, 1989 – May 9, 2014
A Mass of Christian Burial for Natalie M. Lewis, a Buffalo native, who died Friday in a ballooning accident in Virginia, will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 500 Parker Ave.
Ms. Lewis was one of three people who were killed in Doswell, Va., when a hot-air balloon in which they were riding hit power wires. She was 24.
Ms. Lewis was a noted local athlete. She swam for the Tonawanda Titans and Nardin Academy, where she was named the Most Valuable Swimmer for three consecutive years in the All-Catholic meet. Records that she set for freestyle events remain unbroken. She also was a multiple medal winner in the Empire State Games.
Ms. Lewis won a swimming scholarship to attend the University of Richmond, which has an NCAA Division 1 swimming program. While on the swim team, she was a Spider Scholar Athlete, four-year varsity letter winner and two-time captain. She was the 2010 Atlantic-10 Conference champion in the 400 free relay, and Richmond’s team won the A-10 title three of her four years.
She also was a student government cabinet member from 2009 to 2011.
Ms. Lewis graduated in May 2011, and spent a semester in the Richmond area as a student teacher. However, her passion for sports and her love of her alma mater ultimately led her back to the University of Richmond as interim director of basketball operations for the women’s basketball program. Soon thereafter, she was appointed to the position permanently.
Ms. Lewis is survived by her parents, Evan and Patricia Lewis; a brother, Evan Jr.; a sister, Caroline; her fiance, Michael Dougher; and her grandparents, Dr. Joseph and Verna Mattimore.
Nardin Academy, 135 Cleveland Ave., Buffalo 14222, has established the Natalie Lewis Memorial Scholarship Fund in her honor. The University of Richmond also has established the Natalie Lewis Memorial Fund c/o Spider Club, 28 Westhampton Way, Richmond, VA 23173.