Family of Army captain from Matteson killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash celebrates his birthday

MATTESON, Ill. (WLS) -- The family of an Army captain who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash celebrated his 40th birthday Thursday, even as they wait to receive his remains so they can hold a funeral.

Thursday his face was all over his family's clothing; the day was all about him.

"It's been a good day," say his mother, Antoinette Lewis.

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On his birthday, his family remembered his passion for helping the less fortunate.

"He traveled the world," said Rodney Lewis, his father. "There's not a place I can think of that he did not go."

Antoine Lewis was born and raised in Matteson, one of nine siblings, and a decorated military captain who worked his way up in the Army and served in Afghanistan. He was on vacation in Ethiopia doing missionary work at the time of his death. He was one of eight Americans on board the Boeing 737 Max jet that crashed just after takeoff on March 10.

"I think about the moments of that tragic plane crash and the fact that it happened on the other side of the world, but yet affected people here," Rodney said.

Two months later, the family is still waiting to receive Antoine's remains.

"We miss him. We miss him dearly. And yes, we would like closure as soon as possible," Antoinette said.

The family has been in touch with the FBI and U.S. Army regarding Antoine's remains. They said they understand there is an investigation underway into the crash, but are hoping to be able to get his remains and hold a private ceremony and full military funeral for their beloved son.
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