Doris Lewis didn't throw anything away. Her house in Bethesda, where she had lived since 1958, holds scrapbooks, hats, drumsticks, paintings and thousands of photographs that summon memories of a varied and adventurous life.
In her 61 years in the Washington area, Doris Rubenfeld Lewis, who died last month at age 83, was a teacher and artist, a wife and mother, a draftsman -- she'd never call herself a "draftsperson" -- and a Coast Guard veteran of World War II.
"Doris enjoyed everything she entered into," said her friend Lucille Raphael, who knew her for 68 years. "She had a wonderful spirit. I called her the woman for all seasons."
She was born and grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., and graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York, where she studied painting and design. She worked on the school newspaper, acted in plays and was president of the drama club.
Like so many others in the 1940s, she came to Washington to do her part in World War II. At 22, she signed up for the newly formed Coast Guard Women's Reserve, better known by its nickname of SPARs, which combined the original Latin and the English translation of the Coast Guard motto: Semper Paratus, Always Ready.
She went to work at Coast Guard headquarters as a "carpenter's mate," drafting designs of weapons, navigational tools and ships' plans and mechanical parts. When she put her pencil aside, she was a platoon leader who led her group of SPARs through marching drills on the Mall. She also found time to learn to play the snare drum and joined the SPARs band. (Her family still has her drumsticks.) She was one of 116 SPARs who marched directly in front of the horse-drawn caisson at the state funeral of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945.
After the SPARs disbanded in 1946, she joined the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Silver Spring, working for 12 years as an illustrator. Her precisely calibrated technical diagrams -- executed by hand, in those days before computers -- appeared in many books and journal articles.
An excellent golfer, Lewis won trophies in competitions. In the 1950s, long before they were the fashion, she wore jeans. Handy with tools, she made some of the furniture for the apartment she and Raphael, a longtime teacher and principal in the D.C. public schools, shared for a decade.
As a single woman, Doris Rubenfeld had some notable beaus and was engaged a couple of times.
But she never married until she met Herbert Lewis at a breakfast for Jewish veterans.
"He took one look at her blue eyes over the whitefish platter," Raphael recalled, "and that was it."
They were married Aug. 15, 1958. Mrs. Lewis stayed home to raise two sons while her husband worked at the Pentagon as a national security specialist in the office of the secretary of defense.
In 1965, she began her second career, teaching art at the Sunday school of Washington Hebrew Congregation. In 1970, she took on a second teaching job at what is now the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville.
"She loved it," said her son Kenneth Lewis, a production manager at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. "She was the 'Art Lady.' Kids would walk by and say, 'Hey, Art Lady, what are you putting up today?' "
She taught at Washington Hebrew until 1983 and at the day school until 1990. Meanwhile, her landscape paintings and nature photographs were winning local and national awards, and she was publishing essays on art and education.
Through the years, she traveled widely with her family and with Raphael. In 1985, they asked a travel agent about sailing on the Queen Elizabeth 2 and learned that, for a little extra money, they could fly to England on the Concorde.
"We thought about it," said Raphael, "looked at each other and said, 'Why not?' "
They hopped on the Concorde and, typically, Lewis talked her way into the cockpit and took photographs showing the curvature of the earth.
For the past nine years, she was a volunteer reader and technician for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic in Washington.
In 1964, Mrs. Lewis nursed her husband through a year in the hospital as doctors treated a tumor on his pituitary gland. (He died in 1995 at age 79.) But she was never sick herself until last year, when, after a life filled with activity and achievement, she was found to have leukemia. She responded well to treatments and seemed to be her old self, but in March she began to slip, and on May 29 she died at Sibley Memorial Hospital, leaving a house full of memories behind.