Longtime announcer retires from the Riverboat Discovery

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Jay Lewis has been greeting passengers at the Riverboat Discovery every morning for the last 27 years. Today he joined the guests for his last trip as the commentator on-board. In those 27 years, 4,000 boats and nearly 2 million passengers listened as he taught about what it means to live in Alaska.

Jay Lewis has been greeting passengers at the Riverboat Discovery every morning for the last 27 years. Today he joined the guests for his last trip as the commentator onboard. In those 27 years, 4,000 boats and nearly 2 million passengers listened as he taught about what it means to live in Alaska. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

"Jay Lewis and his wife Molly have been an institution in Alaska tourism over the last almost 30 years,” said Captain Ryan Binkley. “It was in 1991, my grandfather decided it was time for him to retire after doing this job for 41 years, and he handed a microphone to Jay Lewis and Jay has been doing our tours ever since."

Jay said meeting all the people is one of the things he liked the most.

"Meeting five Tuskegee Airmen, Meeting a North Vietnamese Army major, meeting five or six medal of honor winners and all kinds of interesting people. Talking to them and listening to them has been very rewarding," said Jay.

One of the things that everyone remembered was his humor.

“Jay and his wife Molly have always come to work with a smile. Always been quick with a joke and we have just had a lot of laughs over the years," said Binkley

As the boat came back to the dock, the crew passed out champagne to the guests and held a toast in honor of Jay.

Before disembarking, and emotional Jay gave his signature close one last time.

"May you always enjoy smooth air, calm water, clear trails and Godspeed... the rest of your days. Thank you,” said Jay.

Jay will now pass the mic to his son, J.R. Lewis and Skylar Evans.

He advises that they be themselves, enthusiastic and willing to share and they will be fine.

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