Four days after he and his father were murdered in their Diego Martin home, Che Lewis again made national headlines.
This time the interest stemmed from 29-year-old Lewis’ unusual funeral.
Both he and his father, Adlai Lewis, 49 were laid to rest yesterday. A double funeral was planned at St John’s The Evangelist RC Church in Diego Martin.
But Che’s body, seated on a chair, was not allowed inside of the church.
His body was taken to the church on the back of a Dennie’s Funeral Home van, drawing the attention of members of the public.
Even before the services were scheduled to begin at 10 am, photos of Che’s body seated in the chair were viral on social media.
His father’s body was in a traditional coffin.
Managing Director of Dennie’s, Cochese Dennie said while the display was the first of its kind in this country, it was requested by Che’s family.
“It would help the families accept the death and help the family grieve better. This is what this has done today. This gentleman has been in this chair for a period of three to four days and family has been coming and viewing him and watching him and they have actually been comforted seeing him in this lifelike state,” Dennie said.
He said Dennie’s was owned and operated by a group of young brothers, who want to innovate the local funeral industry. Dennie said none of the funeral home’s owners or employees was over the age of thirty, which he said allowed them to connect with the younger population looking for more extravagant ways to send off their loved ones.
But such a funeral does not come cheap.
“A normal funeral would cost around $8,000. But for a funeral grand like this and extravagant like this could range between $45,000 to $60,000,” he said.
He said Che’s funeral had generated massive public interest in the funeral home, with callers enquiring about even more unusual ways of displaying bodies.
“Some even ask us if we might be able to put a person standing so people are testing our ability and we are up to the challenge of doing it because this is what we do and I don’t want the public to think this person was on showcase and it was negative. This is what the family wanted,” Dennie said.
He said it was regrettable that Che’s body was not allowed into the church.
“The father of the church said it was irregular and because of that, the deceased wasn’t placed inside the church. He was placed to the front of his church and his service took place there. We do call on religious leaders to be accepting (of this) because it does help the family and in death, you always have to remember that person the way they were.”
Asked the question that most people wondered after seeing Che’s funeral, Dennie said getting the body to stay seated on the chair was a complicated process.
“So how we embalm the body, we did it in that seated position so that the deceased would stay like that over that period of time and since it would have been the first time, there would have been a lot of prep work and done it over a period of time to ensure everything went smoothly and there would be no hiccups today.”
When Che’s body was taken to the St John’s Cemetery in Diego Martin, it was removed from the chair and placed in a casket before it was buried.