Wil Lewis Memorial

For: Maria Lewis
Organizer: Maria Lewis
Wil Lewis Memorial (Maria Lewis)
of $0 goal
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Raised by 273 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Wil was fatally shot in Chicago on July 12th, 2014.  It has been truly heartbreaking losing him. He had a big heart and was loved by everyone. His fun-loving spirit, sparkling eyes, and infectious laugh will stay with us forever.

Wil was born in Guatemala, and adopted by his parents when he was 7 years-old.  Wil overcame many obstacles including only knowing street Spanish, a learning disability and learning a whole new culture.  He grew up in California, Sturgeon Bay WI, and graduated from Kaukauna High School.  He earned a Fine Art Degree in Photography from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where he met his wife Maria.

Maria and Wil were married in August of 2012 and looked forward to moving to Chicago last year.  Recently they had just moved to a new apartment, and Wil was to start a new job. His ambitions were unfailing as was his love for photography, for life, and for his friends and family. It's hard to imagine a world without him.

We thank you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.  The outpouring of support has been a blessing to his loved ones.  Thank you!

Donations will be used for funeral costs and to start scholarships for college-bound kids who have worked hard to make their dreams come true.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 5, 2014

Posted on October 5, 2014

In Wil’s memory, this scholarship will be awarded to a kindred spirit to attend Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). The recipient will be a talented artist that has had many obstacles to overcome in life. Someone that has worked hard and will relentlessly pursue their dreams. Someone who has a love and passion for life and a heart to match. This scholarship will help initiate other works of art, works that Wil never got a chance to finish, all in support of a better education and better life ahead.
Wil’s friends and I have been doing fundraising events for the scholarship. We feel that it is therapeutic planning the events. It helps us remember Wil; he’s love for life, his creativity and his will to make a difference. September we had a successful bingo night at Hamburger Mary’s. October 17th is the next event, a silent art auction at MIAD during gallery night. The event will have live music, beverages, an art therapy table, and more. We are hoping to have many more events throughout the next months and years to come.  
We are asking for your help: volunteering, donate or spread the word; what is your #WilToMake?

Please connect to us:

Like us on facebook:
Following us at:
If your interested in volunteering sign up at the Google Doc below:
Wil you are forever with us.

Posted on October 5, 2014

Posted on October 5, 2014

On Thursday, September 25th the three defendants (Vaughn 31, Burke 15, and Phillips 17) in Wil's case were arraigned in court. They are all under one case number, but will have separate trials. All three entered pleas of not guilty. The state attorney said that it is normal in this type of case, even with all the evidence stacked against them. There will be court date almost every month until the cases go to trial. The case, at minimum, will not go to trial for two years. It may even be 4 or 6 years before the trial. All defendants are being charged as adults.

We met both of the state's attorneys and the victim witness coordinator; they will be involved with the case for its entirety. We feel that they are good people and hope they can get appropriate resolution. They expressed their condolences to Wil's family and friends.

It is very draining and depressing going through this process, but mostly extremely surreal. How is one even able to start to process the reason why they are sitting in the courtroom? It's hard enough to not be in denial that Wil is really gone, let along wrap my head around the way he was tragically taken. Needless to say the arraignment made the hurt very fresh. It is hard to explain the levels of being depressed. I measure it by how far from the house I can make myself go alone. Some days the front door is my enemy. I seem to have an internal battle daily, pushing myself through my new-formed anxieties. One thing that helps me is to think about all the wonderful things Wil was able to experience in his life. All the fun adventure and dreams we had together.

Thank you for your support, hugs

Posted on August 7, 2014

Posted on August 7, 2014

Lost at Sea

Awake at night, tossing and turning, staring into the distance, staring into Marialand. Marialand was a happy, carefree place, which matched my personality. This land has been tore apart and demolished; there are now only ruins. It is bleak and gray place where the rains never come to wash away the ash and soot, where suffocation causes no new growth to bloom.

I sit and sorrowfully gaze into the distance only wanting one thing to appear. In this sea of life Wil was the rock beneath my feet. He was always there. So sudden, so quick my rock has been swept away. Sinking, I try to tread water, but I am tired. I trying to see, but the darkness is deep. I try to breath, but the weight I feel. Many questions to which no answers I hear, no answers; he will never appear.

Moving forward

Wil Lewis Memorial site is so Wil's memory can live on. Wil and I had many dreams. Dreams to help communities, children, the world. We would often sit around and say "If I would win a million dollars I would" and our answers always revolved around starting a non-profit foundation – a foundation to make a beautiful world, a compassionate community, and a better place to live. The memorial site is a place to channel our love for Wil and all of the characteristics he embodied.

As each moment passes I grasp on to the #WilToMake you proud; the #WilToMake your passion live on forever; the #WilToMake a difference in this world. Help me celebrate Wil’s persistent pursuit of dreams. We ask you to share your own #WilToMake through artwork donations, volunteering your time for the auction, or through social media. The Wil Lewis Scholarship www.WilToMake.com

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