Lewis was a lifelong member of the Wake Forest, North Carolina community. He joined the Wake Forest Fire Department in December of 1956. Lewis was an active volunteer with the department until his death on March 4, 1982. Lewis attended and participated in a scheduled fire training when he began to suffer from a heart attack. He died from a massive heart attack later that evening at an area hospital.
Shortly after his death, the Wake Forest Fire Department announced the creation of the Lewis B. Nuckles Fireman of the Year Award to recognize an outstanding volunteer fireman each year. That award is still presented today.
Lewis had a strong love for his family, church, friends, fire family, and his community in general.
Lewis was survived by his wife, Maxine; his daughter, Jenny; his son, Lew; his parents, Otis and Mary Nuckles; and his sister, Joyce Cash.