My friend from Guelph died last winter. He had a very difficult life. The fact that he lasted 61 years was surprising. You see, he was in and out of institutions for most of his life, and at one point was kicked out of every single Mental Health Agency in London. That is where I first met him, some thirty years ago, when I started working in the field. But his behaviour also got him in trouble with the law, and I visited him down at Exeter Road once, because of his anger and rage. That is when it occurred to me that of all the people who should be locked up, he was the last one who deserved to be. So, we started to go to karaoke bars, and competed against each other trying to see who could get the biggest applause. In all this time we would also go to the community meals at various churches, and one of the first ones to offer a supper after the government cuts was St. John the Evangelist Anglican, on Saturday nights, after which we would sing at a downtown bar. When he tried to cross Dundas Street with his walker last winter, a car ran over him, and he died. Quite a few gathered next door to Lerners for the first wake, where an open mike was set up for people to come up and say how they knew him. I closed it out because of my history with him. A second wake at the soup kitchen east of the Police Station saw an even larger crowd show up because he went to all the meals and so many Londoners knew him. But the largest number, according to the London Free Press article, showed up at St. John the Evangelist Anglican for his proper funeral when his sister came down from Hamilton, and the casket or urn was on full display. They loved him at that church, and they asked me to write this for them, because I knew him for so long. Any donations to their supper program would be greatly appreciated, because of the various expenses involved in buying food.
- Daniel E. Lenart
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