Lewis was born Jan. 24, 1927, to Lewis Sr. and Thelma (Brunson) Larson in South St. Paul, Minn. Lew graduated from the University of Minnesota and received his Ph.D from the University of Michigan. He taught at Georgia Technology, Georgia State, Eastern Kentucky University and retired as a professor of anthropology at the University of West Georgia. Lewis was the first state archaeologist for the state of Georgia.
In 1954 Lew began work on the Etowah site in Cartersville. Lew’s work on Mound C gave Georgia & Southeastern archaeology important relics and knowledge on prehistoric Indians that occupied Georgia. Lew also excavated sites on St. Catherines Island, Pine Harbor, Sutherland Bluff and Sapelo Shell Ring on the Georgia coast.
Lewis was preceded in death by his parents, Lewis Sr. and Thelma (Brunson) of South St. Paul, Minn., and Darien; brother, Dean Larson of South St. Paul, Minn., and brother David and wife Patricia (Salmon) Larson of Austin, Minn. Survivors include lifelong family friend, Simon (Willie) William; nephews, Doug (Kathy) Larson of St. Michael, Minn.; Jeff (Debbie) Larson of Mannford, Okla., and Steve (Rhonda) Larson of Kasson, Minn.
Grandnieces and nephews, Sarah, Ryne, Lindsay, Brady and Nick of Minnesota and Audrey, Danny, Darcey and Austin of Oklahoma also survive.
In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorials to the Thelma B. Larson Memorial Award for Anthropological Research at the University of West Georgia.