The Late – David “Kool Kat” “Ricky” Lewis – A Personal Tribute

My tribute to my brother David Lewis at his swansong held at Norse Road Chapel, Bedford, England.
“I last heard from David 4 days before his death, when he contacted me in Jamica. David had recommended a documentary that featured one of his football heroes, the late Laurie Cunningham. 
Now that sums up the David I know and loved. Always willing to share the knowledge he acquired for others to learn as well. David repeated this act all his life.
When we were growing up in Jamaica, David taught me a phrase that has been my own axis “The Greatest Thing is to Know”. Meaning just grabbing unconditionally. You just never know when it will come in handy.
I learnt so much from David – whether it was the music of Studio One, I Jah Man Levi, Leroy Hutson, the words of Linton Kwesi Johnson.
  • It was David that told me first of the beauty of Brazilian football and the artistry of 1970s Dutch football.
  • It was David who encouraged me to experience the great orators at Speaker Corner such as the great Roy Sawh.
  • And It was David who first told me of the musician Raphael Saadiq (who he is pictured with below)
Raphael Saadiq and Kool Kat

Raphael Saadiq and Kool Kat

 At times, David has had some real challenges. He picked up a virus a while back of infernal dimensions that he tried shaking off. Boy did David try. [Mi A tell you]. 

In the end David had his calling & one of his last written quotes in his last days was “Jesus, I am coming home” 
David was leaving us.  Who are we to judge? 
Ricky you are so missed, so loved, so cherished. I miss our long chats about everything. Whether it was on football, politics, Jamaica, cricket, books, Scandinavian dramas, desert island disc, history – just life in general. BUT that was if David’s phone was in good working order
David’s passing leaves a  vacuum of knowledge sharing that will be difficult to fill.
I leave you with a short story of David in Jamaica during the early 1980s.
David and his friend Mark Pryce went to watch an 11 a side football match.  One team was a man short and Mark was asked to play.The referee had not arrived and David was asked to officiate. 
During the match Mark swore and David sent him off. The decision caused mayhem amongst the players and spectators. For a few minutes I wanted to hide or pretend David was no relative of mine.
But that act by David earned him such a high regard and respect in our community and til this day people would come up to me to remind me of his decision. David and Mark made up long before Mark left us a couple years later.
That simple act displayed David’s impartiality for the greater good, his respect for discipline and his sheer class.
Walk good breddah breddah.
Walk Good”
David’s Life Celebration Programme was as follows
  • Welcome by Gary Lewis
  • 1st Song – Marvin Gaye’s “Dream of a Lifetime”
  • 1st Tribute- Gary Lewis (brother)
  • 2nd Tribute – Emily Slater (family friend)
  • 2nd Song – Bunny Wailer’s “Dreamland”
  • 3rd Tribute  – Rona Grabowski (colleague)
  • 3rd Song – Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky”
  • Closing Tributes – Open Mic [8  gave tributes]
  • Closing Song – Marvin Gaye’s “Dream of a Lifetime”
David Roy "Kool Kat" Lewis 4 March 1959 - 14 March 2013

David Roy “Kool Kat” Lewis
4 March 1959 – 14 March 2013

About africanherbsman1967

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1 Response to The Late – David “Kool Kat” “Ricky” Lewis – A Personal Tribute

  1. louiville says:

    A noble tribute and the story shared says so much. Much respect to your brother’s memory.

  2. Ruth says:

    So glad to have a record of this tribute, Gary, and here is my own as read by Emily at the service:

    David was so much loved and the very best friend I could have had. His kindness, honesty and genuine care for people was so much part of who he was. We could not have loved or cared for each other more deeply or more genuinely since we met in 2007 and that care extended to each other’s families, especially our children and later, my son-in-law Sven (with whom many a beer and bbq were shared) and grand-daughter, Maria. David’s presence was so calming that she fell asleep on his lap within 2 minutes of meeting him as a 5-week old baby. There is a wonderful photo capturing the moment and it must be said that David soon nodded off too! Perhaps she thought, I’m in safe hands with a guy who has raised four children himself! Even my mum and dad approved of David who was ever the gentleman, respectful of knowledge and life-experience and appreciative of my mum’s pastry! My brother, Adam and sister-in-law, Dawn also loved spending time with David as he did with them and they are here today to say farewell along with numerous friends, family and colleagues.

    We talked about everything and his good listening and good advice could always be relied upon. David thrived on great music and a little taste of that has been included in today’s remembrance of him. I think he knew we’d be good friends the first time he saw my hi-fi system and B & W speakers! He also loved great debate, acquiring knowledge through avid reading, cheering on sporting achievement and sharing all of that with young people; from his own adored children to those he tried to help, encourage and support through his work. He loved to see young people striving for the best, experiencing what the world has to offer and making a contribution. I’m happy and proud to have shared so much of this with David and in particular the places we visited together which was one of his great joys in recent years. To name some of those places, he loved visiting family in Cyprus, our various trips to Nice, Amsterdam, Annecy, Geneva, East Yorkshire, North Wales and, perhaps his favourite, Paris which we went back to on many occasions. One of our happiest afternoons was spent watching the guy who does amazing tricks with a football outside the Sacre Coeur. As usual, David’s children were never far from his thoughts and he filmed the whole thing to show them later. There were so many places left for him to see and it’s so hard to believe he’ll never again jump on the Eurostar or check in at Luton airport but so wonderful that he was able to do these things and really appreciate the opportunities he had. May David’s passion for travel, for education, for reading, for sport and for news and politics live on in his own four children and in those very many others whose lives he touched. David, your voice, your presence, your good advice, your knowledge, your love and care is missed every day. My lovely friend. I will never forget you.

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