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Bartlesville icon laid to rest

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 19:26:42-04

A Bartlesville icon was laid to rest today.
Cleo Lewis was killed in a hit and run last Saturday while riding his famed yellow trike.

For neighbors in Bartlesville, Cleo's yellow bike was as much of a staple as the man riding it.

Lewis was known by his friends as "Cotton Boll".

Lewis bought his famed yellow bike more than two decades ago.

And the rest, as his family says, is history.

"He didn't ride it for like two weeks," Edward said. "He'd just sit out there, look at it, wash it, wax it. "He'd clean it up, and then finally he got on it and he went around the block. Next thing we knew he was driving across the country. He was gone."

Known as a friend and fellow biker by his companions on two wheels, local kids knew him as "Santa".

Cleo would ride in parades and toy drives and spread the spirit of Christmas all over to the kids he loved.

"They would just look at him like they weren't really sure if he was Santa," Cleo's daughter Debbie Maddox said.

On Friday, Cleo was taken to his final resting place in a truck he bought brand new in the 1950s.

The truck had a crack which he would never get fixed because it was caused by one of his grandkids.

His family says Cleo died doing what he loved, but are still in shock after losing him so suddenly.

"It is hard to believe," Maddox said. "It's just hard to believe that this is happening to him because he was everything to everybody. Even strangers that stopped and watched him go by."

And even though his family and friends are sad to see him go, they find solace in knowing he's looking down tonight with a smile.

"This has to be exciting for him," Edward Lewis said. "This is what he wanted. He wanted to go out in style with all of this. He didn't want us to be sad. He would want us to be happy and honor him that way."

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