As the third generation to own and operate Lewis Orchards near Cavetown, Nevin thrived on a life filled with long hours and physical labor, much of it spent working side by side with family members.
"He loved to watch stuff grow. He loved the idea of planting a seed and watching something grow out of it," youngest son Steven "Steve" Lewis said.
"He loved the land and loved the outdoors," daughter Sheryl Shriver said.
Steve said the farm grew "exponentially" when his father operated it. It began with 12 acres in the first generation and grew to 300 at its peak, with the family now farming about 200 acres of peach and apple trees, as well as an assortment of other fruits and vegetables. At one point, they also had livestock, mostly beef cattle and hogs, oldest son Kevin Lewis said.
"He tried to grow everything. Remember okra? That was fun," Sheryl said.
In addition to his work on the orchard, Nevin committed many hours to a long list of community organizations and his church, Christ Reformed Church United Church of Christ in Cavetown.
As an example, after long hours in the orchard, Nevin would round up the family for their night to work the food stand at the Smithsburg Carnival.
"He was so much into volunteering and helping people," said Shirley Lewis, Nevin's wife. "Even though we were working long hours, he always made time to help others."
For about 30 years, the family provided and cooked breakfast after the Easter sunrise service at church.
"That was our family celebration," Sheryl said.
It was while volunteering at Community Rescue Service that Nevin met Shirley Grove of Clear Spring. She worked there as a dispatcher and he worked on an ambulance.
The couple dated for three years before they married. They recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.
"When I first met him, he was the most generous, kindest person," Shirley said. "It didn't matter if he was in a suit — if there was work to be done or a tire to be changed, he'd help. He was always helping people."
Shirley said they honeymooned in Florida, where she fell in love with the orange groves. She said she was naive enough then to think they could run the orchards back home during the growing season here, then grow oranges in Florida during the offseason.
She said she quickly learned that the family orchards required year-round work, whether planting, harvesting, pruning or going to market.
"Mom worked as hard at the business as Dad did," said Steve, who added that after working together outside during daylight hours, his parents would work on the business end together in the evening.
"We were together 24/7," Shirley said.
For about 10 months out of the year until his late 70s, Nevin worked 60- to 80-hour weeks, she said.