Former Ceres High School equipment manager Jared Lewis passed away on July 11 from health complications.
He was just 24.
Lewis was a magnetic fixture around the Bulldogs’ football, baseball and basketball teams.
He attended practices and home games.
He helped with water, offered words of encouragement to players and provided coaching tips.
Lewis enjoyed being a Bulldog so much, he continued to help out even after he graduated in 2015.
Former teammates and coaches spoke glowingly of Lewis following his unexpected death.
He had a special bond with Louie Thomas and Conner Johnson.
“I was 7 or 8 when we first met,” said Thomas, a 2016 CHS grad. “We’ve gone to the same church. He never changed. He’s always been the same kind of guy. He was full of energy and happy. He was excited for every day. He always had a smile on his face. He just loved sports. That was his thing. I remember this one time there was a break between practices during football and we were playing tag. Jared was really excited. He was running full force.”
“Everybody loved Jared. Only a handful of people took the time out of their day to get to know him. I was one of them."Conner Johnson
“Everybody loved Jared,” said Johnson, a 2017 CHS grad. “Only a handful of people took the time out of their day to get to know him. I was one of them. I first met him freshman year through Louie. We hit it off. He was very energetic. He was a hilarious dude. He didn’t even try to be funny. He just was. Even after he graduated and I was still in high school, he was always there helping out. All my sporting memories involved Jared. He was always positive even when we were losing (in football). He’d grab my face mask, pull me in close and say we need to score right now. He’d do that all the time.”
“During a playoff game (for baseball) senior year, one of our teammates forgot his cleats,” said Jimmy Bates, a 2014 CHS grad. “Jared offered his for the game. He was happy to help out. He was always a light when he came into a room. I never caught him in a bad mood. He always had a smile on his face.”
“The kids loved him,” Bulldogs’ football coach Brett Johnson said. “He was fun to be around. He had a good heart.”
“He was always a positive kid,” said Julio Marquez, former head coach of Ceres High’s boys basketball team. “He always wanted to help out. All the players liked him.”
Lewis smiled from ear to ear when Ceres High football players and coaches surprised him at the team banquet during his senior year.
“Everybody chipped in to get him a letterman’s jacket,” Brett Johnson said. “I remember how excited he was. He wore that thing all the time.”
“It was the least we could do—give him something special for all the work he put in,” Conner Johnson said. “Everybody was excited for him.”
“It was nice to see how excited he got from getting the jacket,” Thomas said.
Lewis was hospitalized for two months. He was diagnosed with Valley Fever and bacterial pneumonia. Lewis had a compromised immune system due to having Kabuki Syndrome and a liver transplant as a baby.
A memorial service will be held for Lewis on Aug. 7 (12 p.m.) at Family Christian Church in Modesto (1901 W. Rumble Road).
A GoFundMe page has been set up with the goal of raising $7,000 for Jared’s family. The account is online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/3ref2u-jareds-memorial-fund