Paying Tribute to Dan Lewis
We were heartbroken to learn that Dan Lewis, one of Stick Tattoo’s longtime artists, passed away at his home in Smithfield from a sudden cardiac arrest. Dan was a one of a kind individual, who made an impression on everyone he met. He loved to make everyone laugh, and would always be the first to lend a helping hand or simply words of encouragement. Dan lived for hunting, fishing, tattooing and helping others. One of the things he enjoyed most about being a tattoo artist was all of the people he was able to meet and put a smile on their face. He will certainly be missed by all his friends and family.
Damian recently reflected on Dan’s time with Stick with his family:
Over the past few days, as we have all shared our stories, I heard a common theme… No matter what the joke, refection or story – such as the time Dan came out of Circle K and had a random stranger passed out in his car, or all the stories about his bird, or the story about breaking the sink at the shop… Somehow, all those stories end with “…but hey, that was Dan.”
Dan was first introduced to the Stick family by Brandon Volek shortly after our shop first opened. Brandon simply said, “I know someone who would be a great fit for the shop. He’s a good artist, funny and his customer’s love him.” Looking back, this was one of the most true statements that someone could make. However, after he and fellow artist Brandon Moats had their room side by side with Dan for 5+ years, hearing Dan’s iconic, daily jokes, there may have been a few days that he may have regretted that introduction…
When I first met Dan, we had lunch together and just sorta got to know one another. And in that lunch, I honestly do not remember talking about tattooing. Instead, he talked about things he enjoyed and had done, like his food drives for the homeless. He talked about the AOW, and how much they did to help others and better our community. Honestly, he just loved helping people, but loved it even more that he could do it as someone covered in tattoos and with a bigass beard. But, hey, that was Dan.
I have no doubts we will all have times where Dan made us laugh, or things he said that caught us off guard. But I want to share one of my favorite stories — I remember walking into the tattoo shop, and even before I opened the door, I could just hear and feel this vibe from inside the shop. And as I opened the door, you immediately heard this deep, loud laughter filling the room from multiple people. It was the type of laughter that resulted in you laughing along, just because of it. I walked back to see what was going on, and Dan was tattooing a gentleman with his first tattoo, accompanied by his family. They were all laughing so hard and through his entire appointment, that I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to finish. But they did, and the customer was extremely complimentary of both the tattoo and artist. But hey, that was Dan.
The next day, we then received this awesome review: “I had an awesome experience last night at Stick Tattoo. Dan Lewis was not only the artist, but the entertainer for the evening. What a great guy… It was the first tattoo for me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The tattoo was a breeze, and actually hated to see it come to an end. Don’t let the beard and serious face fool you… Dan is a character and made the experience great for us. I would recommend Dan to anyone. Thanks for the ink!” Mark Snider, May 5, 2016.
All of us have countless memories and stories with Dan. He was someone who loved to make you laugh. Someone who loved being a tattoo artist. Someone who loved going hunting and fishing. Someone who loved music, specifically with his friends in Mushroomhead and (Hed)PE. Someone who loved his family and friends. And someone who secretly loved dressing up in all our random-photoshoots for work — from santa to cupid. And let me tell you… No matter how much he may have bitched about me “forcing” him to do that, please make no mistake, that man loved it. The day he dressed as cupid, he even called me later that evening -still bitching! But I could hear something in the background, so I asked, “Dude, where are you?” To which he said — “I’m down here on the side of the road waiting to see my billboard!” But hey, that was Dan.
But what I think everyone’s stories have in common, and what everyone will forever remember about Dan, was that he was someone who had a genuine heart of gold, and lived his life to help people, anyway and every way he could. If he saw that you were nervous for your tattoo appointment, he reached into that bag of 3 jokes and told you them all, just to help make it better. Who else do you know that would be in the hospital, sick and feeling down, but would still think to have a picture taken of his bare ass to make you laugh… But Hey, That was Dan.
May we all be comforted by the memories we shared with Dan, the laughs he provided and the impact he had on all of us. Dan would have been the first to give you the shirt off his back, the first to volunteer for anything and the first to simply say “what can I do to help?” It was this quality that Dan lived his life by, the quality that we all loved and the quality that we ask that we all remember and celebrate n his honor. Because Hey, That was Dan.