General News · 30th July 2020
Lewis John Carlino, who found Cortes Island in the late 1970s and lived here seasonally for almost 40 years, passed away peacefully at his home on Whidbey Island at age 88 on June 17th.
Lew, known affectionately to friends as “Luigi”, and his wife Jilly (d. 2015) built their Cortes home on a bluff amid pine and arbutus trees, with a panoramic view of islands, sea and mountains. Their love for this Island and the community here was deep, and led them to support much environmental and community work over the years, with a particular focus on protecting Cortes shorelines and adjacent waters.
Lew and Jilly had a gift for friendship. The folks that built their house, ran the stores, worked on the ferries, led volunteer efforts, as well as their Coulter Bay neighbors - all became valued friends. Always welcoming and generous, Lew and Jill loved to share their home, to gather a few folks to watch the sunset from their deck or to dine with them. Lew loved to cook, and his Italian pastas were memorable. Lew also shared his films at Mansons Hall Friday night movies in years past.
Lew loved to fish and kept an eye on who was fishing in his favorite fishing hole as he worked in his hilltop studio. Lew and Jill simply delighted in spending time out on the water in their boat, DAYDREAMER.
Conversations with Lew were always far ranging and stimulating as he shared his quiet wisdom. To share time with him was a gift. He was a loving and compassionate man.
Lew and Jilly sold their Cortes home in 2013. In typical style they served an elegant lunch to dozens of friends and community members at the Gorge Hall to say “Goodbye” and Thank You” and to introduce the new owners and stewards of their special place.
Born in 1932, Lew grew up in California, joined the U.S. Air Force as a medic during the Korean War, then returned to earn a USC Masters degree in theatre and film. Lew moved to New York to pursue his career in writing for the stage and screen. He travelled the world, as he said, to “let the ideas cook” and became an award winning writer, producer and director, widely acclaimed and respected.
After living once again in California and Colorado, he and Jilly moved to Whidbey Island in 1996 where they contributed significantly to the community there and expanded their friendships. Lew was instrumental in setting up the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, where he directed a number of plays in the theater.
A memorial will be held on Cortes Island when the border opens and his family are able to travel here freely. Lew’s ashes will be brought to the Whaletown cemetery to be placed beside those of his eldest daughter, Vone, his son, Lewis John , and his beloved wife Jill. Lew is survived by his youngest daughter, Alessa, his grandson Duncan and wife Star, and his adored great granddaughter, June Alice.
Lew is sorely missed by us all.