Lewis Memorial Set for April 14

By Loretta Hunt Mar 19, 2009
When finding a place to say goodbye to Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr., his best friend and Tapout co-founder Dan “Punkass” Caldwell didn’t have to look very far.

An open-to-the-public memorial service for the fallen MMA personality will be held on April 14 at 11 a.m. PST at the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.

Lewis, 45, died in a car crash on March 11 in Newport Beach, Calif., while driving home with his girlfriend.

Fittingly, the well-known, glass-constructed church is located at 12141 Lewis St., just a few blocks from Disneyland, where Lewis took long walks alone to pull inspiration for his ultra-popular clothing line and lifestyle brand.

“I just really felt like the Crystal Cathedral was calling,” said Caldwell. “It’s where Charles would have wanted it. [With] some of the spiritual aspects of Charles, I knew we really wanted it in a church.”

Caldwell also said the church, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass, was reminiscent of one of Lewis’ treasured idols.

Photo Courtesy: Tapout

Tapout's final photo shoot
together with "Mask."
“It almost looks like Superman’s lair with the shards of glass bursting up into the sky,” he said. “There’s not another place like it, that I could think of, in Southern California. It was just so fitting for Charles.”

Lewis’ tragic death and rich life has sparked national attention, and over 360 online articles have been penned about his legacy in mixed martial arts. Caldwell said the Tapout offices have received nearly 50,000 emails from well-wishers in the last week.

Tim “Skyscrape” Katz, the third member of the Tapout Crew, believes the outgoing Lewis would be pleased about the outpouring and with the team’s plans to commemorate his life at an extravagant ceremony, which has been named “Simply Believe: A Celebration of Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Jr.”

“Charles wouldn’t want anything small, or to have people sitting around and falling over a casket,” said Katz, who looked to Lewis as a big brother. “Charles wouldn’t want us to sit around and do anything other than have fun and joke and laugh and be jovial like he was.”

Tapout President Marc Kreiner said the venue was also chosen to accommodate as many people as possible. Caldwell agreed that Lewis wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Charles really belonged to everybody, and as much as he was my best friend for the past 20 years, anybody who ever met him felt like they instantly knew him,” said Caldwell. “I think he effected so many people that we only felt it fitting that everybody could attend and pay their respects and celebrate his life.”
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