Education was a integral part of the Lewis family. Even though we were raised on a farm, we were expected to study and attend college. Mother made sure that we were continually encouraged to follow paths that might not be easy, but worth in the long term.
I always wanted to be an architect, but Mother said : “You will be a pharmacist first, then you can do what you want.” Of course, I did exactly what mother wanted. I went to an accelerated program at the University of Houston and graduated at 21 from college. I began the pharmacy career and continually dabbled in architecture from remodeling buildings to upgrading wherever I lived to make it better.
In 1994, the McNair family decided to sell their acreage in Athens. I drove by one Sunday and saw the for sale sign in front of a dilapidated home and barns with grass knee high. I thought: This is it!
I called the agent on Monday and we worked on a deal for me to have this property and the adventure began. Slowly, it started taking shape and I loved using my design interest in making it McNair Farm.
29 years later, each part of the property has been redone. The Smokehouse, The 1873 jail, the Dairy Barn where we have events, all were near the rubble stage until we began the rehab.
Mother also had a keen sense of hospitality and baked for everyone in the community with fresh ingredients and an expert talent way before cooking shows and fancy gourmet stores. I think I received the hospitality gene from her. When someone books a party here at McNair Farm, a part of me says, mother is here and ready to shine. Hard work for an event can be daunting, but I get rejuvenated when we can bring hospitality skills to the public when they walk on our property.
Pharmacy has given me skills for accuracy, but mostly how to improve peoples lives. Being a chef has given me a sense of how food should look and taste. Being an “architect” has given me a freedom to create something out of nothing and to protect the history that was so easily neglected.
- Leave this world better than I found it.
- Leave a legacy for the next generation to thrive
- Leave an excitement for life to do more than thought possible with God as your guide