Lewis J. Birns (1944-2011)

10 Dec, 2011

By Loop Contributor

Lewis J. Birns passed away on December 9, 2011. The cause of death was lung cancer. He was born on January 13, 1944, in New York City to Herbert and Frances Birns. The family moved to New Rochelle in 1948. Lew attended public schools until high school, when he went to Iona Prep. In 1960, he got a part-time job at the supermarket Daitch Shopwell. He worked there until 1967, becoming a store manager. He always said, “All I ever needed to know about how to succeed in life I learned at Shopwell.”


After leaving Shopwell, he moved to Texas and worked for Topper Toys as a regional sales supervisor, covering Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Returning to New York in 1970, he worked with his aunt in the family business. In 1972, he married Mary Lou Walker and went to work at Toy & Sports Warehouse, a chain of toy stores in Westchester County. In 1988, he opened his own toy store, Uncle Lew’s Toys, in the city of Rye. After closing Uncle Lew’s in 1996, he worked for a childrens clothing manufacturer, Imp Originals, in New Rochelle until that firm failed in 2007. He and his beloved wife Mary Lou then retired to Williamsburg, VA.


He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Mary Lou; two brothers, Richard and Bill; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Frank and Susan Walker; and numerous nieces and nephews.


The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains, Williamsburg. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 3:00 PM at St. Olaf Roman Catholic Church, 104 Norge Lane, Norge.


In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Lew’s memory to Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23188. Online condolences may be expressed at www.nelsencares.com.
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