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David Edward Lewis

November 23, 1955 - June 09, 2010

David Edward Lewis, a resident of East Palo Alto, CA was transitioned to his eternal reward on Wednesday June 9, 2010, at the age of 54. David was introduced to his proud parents Edward Taylor (deceased) and Cora Lewis (surviving) in San Francisco, California on Wednesday November 23, 1955. David Lewis is survived by his wife Margaret Lewis, and four children David, Shyvon, Zachary & Rashad Lewis.

In David's young years, he was very active in sports and excelled in both baseball, and football. Between the ages of 18 and 33, David (aka "Funky Rat"), spent at least 17 of those years incarcerated within the California Department of Corrections, but he always returned to his roots in East Palo Alto.

David Lewis rapidly became a well-known community leader who worked hard to turn wayward lives around, for which he was known internationally. He was president and co-founder of a community based organization called Free At Last, designed for the formally incarcerated population and most underserved persons in East Palo Alto. Because of David's relentless work, and determination he was awarded the California Peace Prize for reducing violence in a city that was deemed "the murder capital of America." In addition to this award, he also was nominated to receive the Echoing Green Foundation Community Fellowship award and the Spirit of Initiative award. David's personal story was featured in a Bill Moyers special in 2003 and, again, years later. He was a community specialist II for the San Mateo County AIDS Program and was about to retire in June 2010, after 18 years of service. David was a front-runner and his approach was direct and in your face. Yet, he conveyed his approach in a compassion that was so characteristic of his persona.

After David started his career as a community service provider in East Palo Alto, he then carried his message worldwide (Africa, Kazakhstan, Canada, numerous U.S. cities) to create change for underserved communities. By the end, it was clear that he carved his philosophy of change while touching the lives of politicians, corporate heads, governing boards, and pre/post released individuals. David's two most prominent corresponding personas were: 1) a formerly incarcerated individual who spent 17 years inside as a former drug addict of some 25 years and 2) a crusader of change for those same populations. That is the miracle of David's life, his career and his tireless engagement to seek his life goal of change. Yet, if you really knew David, you knew that somehow this all made sense.

Along the way, David saw unity and regularity that called out for explanation in simpler terms. But, as elsewhere, simplicity required going beyond the surface; in some cases, well beyond. David's moves were always heavily constrained, by conveying his practical approach to many closed minded audiences. But as it was David, and many can attest, at the conclusion of his dissemination, accolades were flowing. Ultimately, many finally understood David's approach, as he gave it perhaps its purest and most powerful form. His work was rehabilitating by a sort of rationalism, with his starting points, his systematic method and the boldness of his inferences. But at the same time, his work did much to make the process seem essential. Many, before and after David Lewis, will contribute to this change of climate, but a significant part of it will be due to David Lewis showing the way.

David wasn't just an extraordinary crusader, he was an extraordinary person. He certainly left an impression. We will miss, but not forget David Lewis and his diligent commitment to seek his life goal of change on behalf of the countless addicts, incarcerated communities, his family, friends and colleagues. ***************************************** The San Mateo County Coroner released David's body to his wife Margaret Lewis on Monday, July 14, 2010. Funeral arrangements were made at Jones Mortuary in East Palo Alto. David was Muslim and it was his wish to be buried in the traditional Muslim custom. Monday evening, David's wife and very close friends prayed for David, and his Muslim brother's respectfully, with clean, scented water, washed and shrouded (wrapped in sheets of clean white cloth, called kafan) David's body.

On Wednesday June 16, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. David's body was transported to the site of the funeral prayers Janazah, officiated by Iman Abu Qadir Al Amin at the Muslim Community Association at 3003 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054. The "Circle of Recovery" members, from David's support group, were the pallbearers who carried David's body into the Mosque.

After Janazah prayer, David's body was taken to its final resting (al-dafin) place at Skylawn Memorial Park to rest beside his father Edward Taylor Lewis who was a veteran. ************************************

In response to the fact that David Lewis was murdered at the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo on June 9, 2010, the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Lewis' murder. See the governor's announcement at

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