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Westwood High School class photo, 1971.

Glenford "Budge" Lewis, SR. Enjoyed Making People Laugh and Loved Music

The late Glenford John Lewis Sr. was born on September 12, 1951, Budge passed away October 21, 2017. As the son of the late Philip Felix Lewis and Virginia Eleanor Vohave-Lewis. Lewis grew up in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He attended Salt River Presbyterian Church, which included Bible School. At an early age, Lewis—or “Budge,” as most people who knew him called him—had a great sense of humor and enjoyed making others laugh with his silly antics.

Budge was a thrill-seeker and was adventurous throughout his life. It wasn’t unusual to find him climbing trees for mulberries and delicious figs that his grandfather grew, or maybe swimming in a nearby water hole. As he grew older, you could find him playing basketball at the Salt River Gymnasium.

Salt River Marching Band playing on Central Ave. in Phoenix, Arizona.

School Days

Budge attended the Salt River Day School, then Emerson Elementary School in Mesa, followed by Carson Jr. High. In 1971 he graduated from Westwood High School in Mesa.

Musical Journey

Budge’s father, Phillip, was a trombone player with the Salt River Marching Band, which at the time was a very successful band. It had more than 30 instrumental and majorette participants who performed within the state, and on occasion out of state. Naturally, Budge, who had become interested in music, joined the band and became a drummer. In 1964, the Beatles landed on the shores of the United States, and Budge, along with many other young people, became influenced by the group from Liverpool—so much so that he and his fellow childhood friends, Ned Andrews, Kent Andrews and Tony “Big T” Leonard, began playing their own rock-and-roll with a band named Red Express. Red Express played music locally at the Community hall and out of state, including in Canada. Red Express was a very integral part of the Salt River Indian Community. At 1999 Fourth of July celebration, the band was recognized by the SRPMIC for its musical contributions (1972-99).

Budge played many musical instruments and had a very pleasant voice. Later in life, he played music with the Onk Akimel Band.

Red Express, 1999, during the 4th of July celebration at the Salt River ball field. (L-R): Kent Andrews, Glenford "Budge" Lewis, Tony "Big T" Leonard, and Ned Andrews.

Professional Contribution

After graduating from high school, Budge worked in Phoenix as a service-station attendant on the corner of 24th Street and Van Buren. In 1971, the Salt River Police Department hired him as a police dispatcher. In 1973, Budge graduated from the Phoenix Police Academy, and in August of that same year he advanced to senior patrolman. In April 1974, Budge was promoted to police detective, then in November of that same year he advanced to sergeant. Other accomplishments include serving on the AZPOST Criminal Justice Planning Program, Drawing the Eagle for the Indian Country Intelligence Network Association (ICIN), and serving as guidance counselor for new police recruits at the Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy in Tucson. Sgt. Lewis left the department in October 1995.

Salt River Police Department standing at inspection, Glenford Lewis is in the forefront.

Words from people who worked alongside him

Budge was a musically and artistically gifted individual. As a police officer, he designed screens for T-shirts, fun runs, DUI task forces and police vehicle decals. He was also very involved with Toys for Tots, Special Olympics and Police Week activities. Before the term “community policing” was talked about, Budge was already practicing this type of service in the Community. He spoke O’odham fluently, which he used when speaking with the elders and others to better communicate with them. Budge was also very patient. He listened to both the young and old who helped him get to the root of an incident. Budge worked at the police department during a period of beige and brown uniforms, wooden nightsticks and .38 revolvers to an advancement of police science in keeping up with surrounding Valley departments by leaving this lifestyle of dark blue uniforms, Tasers and 9mm Glocks.

He didn’t forget where he came from

Budge was always a Community member first, and his traditional roots were embedded at an early age through his caring, helping others and empathy. His parents and grandparents instilled these values in him.

L-R: Chris Valenzuela, Sammy Carlos, Cecil Lewis Jr., Glenford Lewis and Delbert King.