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Andre Lewis of Deer Park: School guard, team leader and 'great' man

Andre Lewis, a security guard at the East

Andre Lewis, a security guard at the East Meadow school, died of COVID-19. Credit: Lewis Family

Throughout his working life, Andre Lewis of Deer Park racked up quite a few "Employee of the Month" certificates, even while working two jobs at a time, said his wife, Shemika, who knew the gregarious and funny "Dre" since their high school days in Jamaica, Queens.

That’s why it was no surprise to those who knew Lewis that he was well-liked by the staff, faculty and, especially, the children of Parkway Elementary School in East Meadow, where Lewis started working as a security guard in October 2018. So revered was the guard to whom children flocked each morning, greeting him as "Mr. Andre," that the East Meadow School District found a way to hire him even after his contract with his company, Summit Security Services, had expired.

But on May 16, Lewis — a husband, father and model employee — became one of the thousands of New Yorkers to die of COVID-19, at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, his wife said.

He was 40.

"My husband will be deeply missed," Shemika Lewis said. "He was my other half for half of my life, for over 18 years. I knew him from high school. I loved my husband a lot. He touched many lives and I am grateful for that. His love for his family is immeasurable."

Andre Lewis was born in Queens and attended New York City schools including P.S. 40, M.S. 72 and Springfield Gardens High School, from which he graduated in 1997 and began his working career.

He clocked in hours at various workplaces, including serving as a chef at Applebee’s restaurant, a loss-prevention officer at Marshalls department store, a paraprofessional assisting special education students in Queens’ District 75, a counselor for adults with mental disabilities and a traffic-enforcement agent for the NYPD.

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"He was definitely a team leader, a team player," his wife said. "He basically was a good employee — I mean, amazing, hardworking and always looking out for staff, always looking out for other people."

Lewis stayed in traffic enforcement for 10 years until 2016 when he, his wife and daughter, Tamia, now 12, relocated to Lawrenceville, Georgia, to be near other family members. But they returned to Long Island six months later, Lewis' wife said, adding that he landed a job with Summit Security, where he earned a reputation as a trusted member of the Parkway community.

"The kids loved him," said Jamie Mack, principal of the more than 500-student Parkway Elementary School. "He knew every kid — which amazed me."

Mack said that Lewis stood outside the building each day to greet students, rain or shine. "He took his job very seriously," she said. "We lost a member of our family."

Shemika Lewis said her husband was a great person, a great spouse and even a great cook whose signature dishes included chicken parmigiana, omelets, and macaroni and cheese.

He also liked reading the Bible, playing chess, listening to motivational speakers and watching pastors deliver their sermons on television, his favorites being Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes.

Funeral services for Andre Lewis were private.

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