ST. PETERSBURG — If you went to a concert or club in downtown St. Petersburg in the last 30 years, odds are you walked past the guy known as Big Mike.
Whether it was the old State Theater or Club Detroit.
“If you were approaching him from a distance and saw his size you might be a little intimidated and then the 1000-watt smile came on," said
former Club Detroit owner Robert Douglas.
Douglas and others involved in the St. Pete music scene are remembering Michael Lewis as much more than a security guard who they worked with going back to the ’80s.
They say he was a friend and someone who cared about this community.
“Mike made friends with everybody. Even the guys who were kicked out would eventually come back, no, no you are not coming in. You got another month on probation before I’m going to let you come in here," said promoter David Hundley.
Mike died earlier this month.
His family says he developed severe pneumonia after testing positive for COVID-19.
Many of the thousands he interacted with over the years have been posting memories online.
“I don’t think in all the years that we worked with him I saw him speak in anger to anyone," said Douglas.
“There’s no replacing that guy and everybody was touched by him," said Hundley.
A memorial service for Big Mike is set for this Saturday.