Michael William Lewko was born January 10th, 1954, to William John and Eleanor Rose (Haggins) Lewko of Stone Avenue in Claremont, NH. He died May 12th at Maine Medical Center after a brief illness. He was the eldest of three children, sister Elizabeth (Dana) Whipple and son Aaron (Rosa) Whipple, brother James (Sara), and daughter Allyson Lewko. He attended Maple Avenue School, Claremont Jr. High School, and graduated from Stevens High School class of 1972. What he loved most about his high school years were sports, a passion he shared with his father. He played basketball, varsity football, and track and field, to name just a few. In his yearbook: Basketball 1,2,3, Boys State 3, Football 1,2,3,4, Track 1,2,3,4, Varsity "S" Club 3,4. After high school, he attended Plymouth State College and studied early childhood education, aspiring to be a kindergarten teacher.
While he was in his senior year in college, Michael began working in restaurants, finding his true passion, cooking. He started his culinary career with a six-year apprenticeship with Swiss chef Franz Dubach at the William Tell Restaurant in Campton, NH. As he was known in the kitchen, Chef Mike continued to gain more experience at the Finish Line Restaurant in Waterville Valley, NH, The Marblehead Landing in Marblehead, MA, and Stewart Hill Restaurant in Jeffersonville, VT. After learning the trade, he opened his restaurant and was the Owner and Executive Chef of Roscoe's, in Beverly, MA, from early 1994 until July 1998.
Some of the other distinguished restaurants Michael worked at were Hawthorne By The Sea in Swampscott, MA, Cambridge Common in Cambridge, Boat House Grill in Meredith, Walters Basin in Holderness, William Tell Restaurant in Campton as Executive Chef for four years, Long Haul Farm in Holderness, and The Derryfield in Manchester, NH.
He and Brooke opened and owned an up-scale deli with homemade, gourmet meals to-go, named Circa 1906, in Manchester, NH, from 2009 until 2011, when he reluctantly moved to Kennebunk, Maine.
In 2011, he met David "Duffy" Cluff and started working at Duffy's in Kennebunk, helping to create some signature dishes, many of which are still on the menu today. Michael later helped Duffy open Duffy's in Old Orchard Beach in 2015.
After settling into life in Maine, Brooke and Michael had beautiful flower and vegetable gardens at their home and shared many meals from their harvest. Michael was most proud of his tomato and yellow bean harvest. He shared this passion for gardening with his father. Michael was so fortunate to spend time with Brooke's grandchildren. He loved to boast of the noisy gifts he gave them. He often remarked on what great kids they were. Michael loved Thanksgiving and hosted many feisty holiday gatherings for family and friends.
Michael loved music, especially the "Allman Brothers" and Dickey Betts. He played the saxophone in the band and orchestra in high school and continued throughout his life. He was always willing to talk politics, but you had to see and agree with him, or you would never hear the end of it. He was an avid fan of all New England sports teams - Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. He was known to have multiple sports games on at once on different channels. Michael had a soft spot for animals; though he never really had any dogs of his own, he was so good to them. It was lovely that a large man would find love and devotion in such small dogs. Roscoe, Tucker, Morgan, Gracie, and the pair he left behind, Katie and Ellie, named after his mother, are still waiting at the door for him to come home.
He was never married but spent over 19 years with his partner, Brooke S. Tetz, of Kennebunk, Maine. Brooke's daughter, Kristin, and husband, Jade, have two children, Isabella, and David, whom Michael loved to spoil, cook for, and talk sports with.
Michael was predeceased by his parents, William and Eleanor Lewko, grandparents, friends, and relatives.
There will be a celebration of life on Sunday, June 11th, from 1-4 pm at Duffy's Tavern and Grill on Main Street in Kennebunk, ME.
In lieu of flowers, Mike's family asks that you consider donating to a charity that speaks to your heart in his honor or may be made in his honor to the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NHSPCA), 104 Portsmouth Avenue, Stratham, NH.
To leave a message of condolence, please visit Michael’s Book of Memories at www.bibberfuneral.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St. Kennebunk.