In Profile: Joe Lewis
How many jobs can one man have?
If it’s Joe Lewis, aka Dr. Funk, the number is five and counting.
In addition to his day job as director of UC’s Retirement Administration Service Center, Lewis volunteers most mornings at Christ the Light cathedral, serving as a lector and Eucharistic minister for the 7:15 Mass. He also serves on the Oakland Diocese’s school board. In the evening, he teaches management classes at the University of Phoenix. Then there are the occasional DJ gigs as Dr. Funk, when he dips into his collection of R&B and funk music.
“The whole Dr. Funk thing came about because someone I worked with at AT&T knew I had an extensive rhythm and blues collection. She asked me to DJ a party, so I brought some records. Then people just started approaching me,” Lewis says.
Lewis doesn’t play many parties anymore, but it’s not uncommon for someone at OP to see him in the hall and call out, ‘hey there, Dr. Funk.’
Even President Yudof has been influenced by Lewis’ musical tastes. After hearing Lewis and Dwaine Duckett, vice president of Human Resources, sing an impromptu version of Johnny Taylor’s Cheaper to Keep Her, Yudof asked for a copy of the song.
“I slip him an R&B tape every now and then,” Lewis says.
More than the music, though, Lewis is probably best known for appearing on billboards and TV ads promoting the Oakland Raiders during their 2008 season. The silver and black have been his football team since they formed in 1960, and he remains a steadfast season-ticket holder despite their recent travails.
“When the Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982, I found out I wasn’t a football fan. I was an Oakland Raiders fan,” Lewis says. “I can’t root for any team south of Fresno.”
In 2008, with the Raiders back in Oakland, the team’s front office contacted him and other season ticket holders and invited them to try out for the Raiders’ upcoming ad campaign.
Lewis, who is not the least bit camera shy, ended up in a pirate’s eye patch on giant billboards and TV spots all over the region.
“One guy here said, ‘I was coming in to work and I almost got blinded by this giant billboard – and you were on it,” Lewis says. “I started showing up on billboards all over the Bay Area. People were seeing me in Oakland, Daly City, Concord, San Francisco, and Richmond’s Iron Triangle.”
As to how Lewis manages to juggle so e many jobs, including the occasional stint as a DJ or professional Raiders fan?
“Busy people always find ways to do more,” Lewis says. “They find time for the things they think are important.”