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Thomas, resident homeless man at Funston & Clement, passed away Wednesday night

A photo of Thomas taken at Star of the Sea, 6 or 7 years ago. Photo by Liz Hogan Stalnaker.

A photo of Thomas taken at Star of the Sea, 6 or 7 years ago. Photo by Liz Hogan Stalnaker.

This morning we were contacted by Lea Grey Dimond, the owner of Thidwick Books who told us that Thomas, the African-American homeless man that made camp at Funston and Clement, died in his sleep last night.

Thomas’ full name was Thomas Myron Hooker, and based on conversations Dimond had with him, along with his accent, she learned that he was originally from Trinidad. He also spent time in Chicago before coming to San Francisco.

Thomas was a homeless fixture in the Richmond District for 20+ years. He made camp near Star of Sea Parish for many years, and then moved over into the Park Presidio greenbelt. For the last several years, he has camped every night on the northwest corner of Funston at Clement Street.

Thomas poses with a neighbor, also named Thomas. Photo from Rebekah Te'o.

Thomas poses with a neighbor, also named Thomas. Photo from Rebekah Te’o.

“This was a man who never asked for anything,” Dimond told us. She would offer him tents and sleeping bags for shelter but he would refuse. She came to learn that any kind of enclosure upset him.

“He lived in another realm, he was elsewhere, not of this world,” Dimond said. Thomas would talk about flying to the ocean several times a day. Most of the time he was cheerful, optimistic and kind, and neighbors in the area often brought him food.

Every day, Thomas worked his way east on Clement Street with his shopping cart, and would stand at the corner of 9th Avenue near the Walgreens, usually talking to himself. Restaurants along Clement Street would often give him food. But every night he returned to Funston and Clement to sleep.

Dimond posted a sign on her bookstore, Thidwick Books, to notify neighbors of Thomas’ passing.

“I want people to know what happened. A lot of people in the neighborhood know who he is and look out for him,” she said.

Dimond called the Medical Examiner to find out what would happen to Thomas. She was relieved to hear that the city will pay for his cremation and the spreading of his ashes at sea.

“He would love that, he loved the ocean and being outside,” Dimond said.

“Thomas – who flew to and from the ocean every day, and spoke with birds, and he once woke to a cloud of butterflies kissing him – may he rest in peace,” Dimond’s sign said.

UPDATE: A memorial service will be held at Star of the Sea Church (4420 Geary) for Thomas on Monday, November 7 at 7pm.

Sarah B.

P.S.- A reader alerted us to Thomas’ inclusion in a 2015 documentary called “Voices“, which profiles three people dealing with psychotic mental illness. The trailer is below and the full film is available on Amazon.

97 Comments

  1. RIP Thomas. i have lived in the Richmond for almost 17 years and often saw and spoke with Thomas. he was always cordial, happy and upbeat to me. he had an aura about him that was —”otherly” that is the only way i can describe it. Godspeed on your next journey sir.

  2. Oh, that’s sad. I always worried about him and he was always so friendly.
    I only wish we/he could have found a more comfortable and secure home for him in his life.

  3. He was camped at 7th Ave. Safeway until they tore it down for the remodel. One day he told me he had won the lottery. WOW, I said. How much? $16 trillion dollars. Another time he gave my husband a quarter. He was a very special soul.

  4. Last night, on my way to dinner in the neighborhood, I passed Thomas. He was doing a little dance on the corner. I smiled and waved. He smiled and waved back. We had a little moment. I am so glad to learn that his death was peaceful and that I was able to see for myself that his last evening was a happy one.

  5. A sad story, but I am uplifted by the care and love from our neighbors. May he rest in peace

  6. I lived on that block for 10 years. Thomas always greeted me with a big smile, making my day better every time. Thank you for sharing his story.

  7. Thomas used to be a regular at the Golden Gate Park roller skate scene at 6th Ave. and JFK Drive for decades!!! He never skated, but he would dance and hang out. A super nice guy that refused to live under a roof. He lived in the park for many years with Caroline. She loved him, but she got to the age where living outdoors was just too much. They both talked about moving indoors,, but Thomas stayed. He had options, but swore he would never move indoors. I just saw him on Clement and 9th Ave yesterday!!! He seemed happy

  8. Our office was directly across the street from Thomas’s corner for three years. We saw him regularly, brought food to him whenever we had left over office food, and he was always so friendly and grateful. Even if I was having a crappy day Thomas would always smile and wave, because it seemed like he never had crappy days. A gentle soul.

  9. Thomas has been there forever. I remember when he’d sit in the back pew at Star of the Sea. He’d keep an eye on the church and stop thieves from stealing from the devotional shrine candle boxes. Many of the priests at Star from Fr. Chang to Fr. Illo tried to help him — but he seemed pretty content living as he did. The First Mass of the 2017 year will be offered for his soul on January 1, 2017 at 8:30am at Star of the Sea.

  10. I have a photo of him from the time we spent at the laundromat together. It is just him looking at the street while staying dry from the rain. I’m happy to share but not sure how I can here.

  11. I attended Star of the Sea and nearly everyday I’d pass him on my way home from school at the corner of 9th and clement by the Walgreens and he’d always smile and be very friendly. If I ever offered him money, he’d refuse and say that I needed it more than he did. As an alter server, I’d see him at tons of masses in his back pew, and he’d always wave to me as I walked down the aisle; The kindest stranger I’ve ever had the chance to be acquainted with.

  12. That is very sad to hear. Thomas lived in the green belt in front of our home on 14th Ave for many years and then, in the past several years, moved to the corner of Clement and Funston. We have lived in our house for 20 years, and Thomas was there before we arrived. I spoke to Thomas every day I saw him and he was a lovely and kind man. Thomas was of another world, and often talked about speaking to the many creatures he believed lived with him in the green space where he lived. Although he would always gladly accept food and a little money, he would not accept shelter – except for a tarp. As often as I offered Thomas food, he would offer to share his food with me as well. Thomas would also update me on his exercise regime, which he said consisted of boxing the large couch pillow he carried on top of his shopping cart “10,000 times per day”. Thomas was as a previous poster said, a “gentle soul”.

  13. I have loved how our “neighborhood”
    Seemed to totally include Thomas just as he was. People saw him as a neighbor
    And often as I passed him on my way to our nearby office his wave, smile and greeting gave my day a cheerful and positive start. I will miss him?

  14. My husband has a picture of/with him… how should we submit it?

  15. Thomas lived in his own universe but if you listened, you could hear the bits of a higher consciousness. Without any effort, he could make you smile. He was a sweet man and after living in this neighborhood for 22 years, I will definitely miss him.

  16. Thomas will be missed, but he had such a stong faith in the Lord! I’m sure he’s singing with Jesus right now!

  17. Thomas will be missed, but he had such a strong faith in the Lord! I’m sure he’s singing with Jesus right now!

  18. Thomas was always gentle and respectful. He did his martial arts workout in Golden Gate Park for years and always smiled and acknowledged me when I came out to skatedance. I will miss his kind and happy eyes and think of him when I see the water his final resting place. May he be at peace forever.

  19. Our entire family remembers Thomas fondly. We’ve lived in the Richmond since the 60’s and having such a gentle soul around was very positive especially for our kids. They greeted him weekly and he always waved back with that cheerful smile. He would go to the end of Tacoma St. and wait there for my mom who would give him leftovers or make him a sandwich. He really enjoyed the espresso’s she made for him. You will be missed Thomas.

  20. Thomas had schizophrenia. So wished he hadn’t lived on the streets and wished he had received the care he needed. RIP. I hope his family learn of his death so there is some closure for them.

  21. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve never had a conversation with him, but I saw him on our street without his cart for the first time yesterday, and I thought he looked so happy and free. RIP Thomas.

  22. The kindness in these comments shows what a special neighborhood you have in the Richmond

  23. He slept in front of our shop for a few years before he “moved” to Funston and Clement. My dad nicknamed him Pete. He always cleaned up before he left for the day, many times leaving money or food for us. Always wanted to know his story, but the few times I asked, he told me a different tale. I will miss him.

  24. This hurts my heart… Thomas was one of the first neighbors I met almost 7 years ago when I first moved to the neighborhood. Not a day would pass that I didn’t see him on Clement. Rest in Peace in the sea, Thomas. May your soul be happy and free.

  25. After a long shift coming home at around 12 am, I would always try to bring him water bottles and some food from either my work or 7-11. I even tried to give him some of my dominoes pizza at one point as I walked home but he refused. It’s so sad to see him gone. I’m 20 yrs old and I even remember going to Sutro elementary school right on that block Saying hi to him almost every morning. As a 10 year old walking to school alone you would think that you’d be afraid, but with Thomas he was as friendly as you can imagine. He Was very kind and as in the article said he never asked for anything, and he never did. Thomas we will miss you and may you RIP

  26. I used to talk to Thomas daily when I worked at the Safeway on 7 th Ave. He told at one time that his mother lived in the neighborhood. He told me he could not stay with her because he liked to be outdoor. He would go home periodically to bathe and get a haircut. He was the sweetest man and will be missed. RIP Thomas, you are with god.

  27. Every day when my spouse and I would walk our dog, we would run into Thomas and his was the first smile we would receive. It was such a gift.

    He was our neighbor, and in a way, our neighborhood’s guardian.

    Thomas will be missed.

  28. Thomas was such a kind and gentle soul who touched so many of us with his innocence and love.
    His happy, quirky presence is really going to be missed.
    God bless you Thomas.

  29. Thomas was interesting, I knew him for many years walking my children to school and going to mass at star of the sea at noon weekdays. Sometimes he was pleasant, I would always give him loose change or a few dollars. But sometimes he was extremely inappropriate. I sympathize with mental illness, though, and did not let his unacceptable verbal attempts at attention phase me. Bless his heart. RIP Thomas. You were a living breathing fixture of ourneighborhood.

  30. While I am not an “official” resident of the Richmond, I do consider it to be the neighborhood my heart has chosen as the place it eternally wants to be. I am a frequent (perhaps not frequent enough according to my soul) out-of-town visitor to the Richmond. I’d like to report my own personal experience with who I am certain was Thomas: (It’s people like Thomas that makes the Richmond to be what I feel is San Francisco’s best neighborhood) I feel absolutely positive that I was a recipient of Thomas’ giving and hospitality last February. It had to be him, based on my recollection of the following incident and the pictures I see posted of him here: I was walking northbound on the eastside of Funston, during a sun-kissed late morning walk through the Richmond, approaching the Archives Building, traversing via the sidewalk, yet fairly close to street. As it’s always been my habit, I customarily, while walking, give a fleeting glance to any empty parking spot or any empty piece of pavement, for that matter, as I walk by. I never know where I’ll find my next dime or quarter glistening in the sunshine, awaiting for me to pluck it like a cherry off a tree. Evidently Thomas recognized what I was doing, though I was unaware that he was watching me at the time. Maybe he, like I, found joy in finding those little lost “pennies from heaven”. As I neared the intersection of Funston and Clement, Thomas, in a peaceful manner, and smile on his face, came towards me, and told me “Maybe this is what you’re looking for”? He then proceeded to give me a quarter. We shared a laugh and we both went on our ways. I have a feeling the next quarter I find on my daily walk to work, far from Thomas’ home in the Richmond, will be a little present from him. Thomas–it’s clear you were loved by many–and will be missed by even more. Rest in peace, my friend.

  31. I remember Thomas from his days hanging out by the 7th ave Safeway.
    He liked Pie and Gatorade, he would always wave to us and we’d sometimes buy him a whole pie.
    He told us that he and our dog were brothers, and that there was a picture of them together in every Chinese resturant in San Francisco. When the Safeway was torn down he disappeared for a while, then I started seeing him on Clement St buy he never recognized me and just looked right through me when I tried to talk to him.

  32. Thomas would greet me like an old friend whenever I saw him, which was often when he lived in the Park. He proudly showed me where he slept near 8th Ave in the Park. My son tried to offer him money, but he wouldn’t take it, especially from a child. He adored my daughter who was in a wheelchair. He would stop what ever he was doing and exclaim with delight when he saw us coming or introduce her to whoever he was talking to – whether I could see them or not. I told him her name but he had his own name for her that was long and poetic and varied slightly with each encounter. He lived a different life than most of us, but I believe he was a content soul. May he rest in peace.

  33. Thank you for sharing this sad news. My 9 yr old son will be especially moved by hearing this as we do a lot of walking down Clement and always saw Thomas. We never knew his name. Let’s simply remember him as man and a fixture of the neighborhood. Using the adjective “homeless” before both words gives the impression that he was less than either. Homeless people are people who happen to live on the street and have likely endured unfathomable circumstances to end up where they are.

  34. Truly sad news. The corner of 9th Ave. and Clement st. will feel emptier without his smile and presence.

  35. The day before he passed, I was doing my laundry on 10th and Clement. Someone left behind 2 towels and I asked if anyone needed them. My intention was to take them to Thomas, so he can dry off from the rain. I got caught up in my head, the work day ahead of me and forgot about the towels when I left. I would agree with every comment here, his nature and big heart, he made me smile. More than once, while passing him on the street, he would tell me stories. I would listen because he had some cool stuff going on in his head. He would give me $ to buy him food or a beverage, telling me the merchants would not let him inside. Last night in yoga practice (I’m a teacher) we held space for Thomas. We sat in a circle, with hands in prayer. I explained that I lost a friend and asked my students to send him a blessing, Thomas, I hope you felt it.

  36. I drove past your corner this morning and it looked very empty. Our family will miss you, Thomas. Thank you for sharing your smile with us. May God Bless you and keep you safe.

  37. Omg you all make me so proud to be a part of this neighborhood. I’ve had a special spot in my heart for Thomas too. Just didn’t know his name until today. Now we can all honor him appropriately. Proof of how many lives one person can touch.

  38. I left a small vigil for him in front of the walgreens last night at tenth and clement where he used to hang out. I urge anyone else who loves and cared about or for Thomas to add to it, with flowers, candles, cards, or memories. Hope it’s still there this morning.

  39. Very sad. How did he pass? Was it of old age, or the elements? Rest in peace, gentle soul

  40. I’m sorry he’s gone. As others here commented, he lived in a world where everything was good. On a rainy evening last year when I was on the 38 bus, I saw him in front of the Parkway Motel struggling to push his cart which had a broken wheel. Later, I mentioned it to him and told him it made me feel bad to see him suffering. His response was that hardship was something that is necessary in life and asked me to feel his arm to see how strong he was.

  41. I work in the neighborhood and had the pleasure of sharing the dignity of respectful social interaction, and periodic financial contributions, with him several times a week for the last five years. I had no idea that so many others enjoyed the opportunity of welcoming him and acknowledging his place in the community. I suspect there are deep lessons here for understanding how we as San Franciscans embrace diversity. What others have shared about their children’s interactions with Thomas warms my heart about the sophistication of their parenting. I’m also struck by how much Thomas was a hidden juncture in the network of our community’s fabric of good will.

  42. Our family has lived in the Richmond for almost 20 years, and Thomas was this lovely man who always had a smile and kind words to share. Thomas was kindness personified. He greeted everyone with a smile, a wave, a “hello, friend,” and well wishes. Thomas reminded us, lest we judge too quickly, that humanity comes in all shapes and forms. He and I were talking the other day before I walked into Walgreens to get Thomas something to drink and he told me, as I’m sure he told so many of us here in the neighborhood, that he had a gift for my family – a billion trillion blessings for us. Thomas, our family will miss you, your smiling face, your kind words and may you be the one who receives a billion trillion blessings now. Rest in peace. And to the person who wrote this article, thank you so much. Thomas’ passing saddens me, but reading all these heartfelt comments makes me feel so good about our neighborhood and the lovely, caring people with whom we share it.

  43. thomas’ spot on clement is across from me. said hi to him most every day. sometimes i’d bring him some lunch or drinks. a couple of weeks ago the city’s homeless outreach was there twice to offer him assistance. he refused and that was his choice. so sad yet happy to see so many people cared about him and will miss him.

  44. I remember my mom, Nora, would always give Thomas five dollars and talk to him. She told me he asked her to marry him one day. She passed away years ago but whenever I saw Thomas, I would give him a five and mention my mom. His face would light up. I also saw him a few times in the back pew at Star of the Sea when I attended a funeral. He would wave and give me that big smile. I don’t think he had a bad bone in his body. I am tearing up as I write this. How many of us would get this many people responding to our passing? Not me. God bless you Thomas. The Richmond will not be the same without you.

  45. I’m so sad to hear this news, but so heartened by the comments from neighbors who he had an impact on. I live a block away from where he lived, and can’t believe he’s gone. He was such a gentle and kind soul, and had so many interesting stories about his life and past. No matter what he was sharing, he was positive and enthusiastic about the future. He was loved by so many, and will be missed. Goodbye Myron (I never knew his name was Thomas – he always went by Myron to me!). We will miss you.

  46. Thank you Thidwick books for reporting about Thomas. Thursday morning.
    coming back from church at 9:15 or so to give Thomas his food and etc.
    like we do almost daily for the past 20 years or so he did’nt respond that morning.
    we called 911 and the police came aftefwards. On Thursday I erected a white
    cross in the morning to draw attention to what had happened .
    This morning I changed the cross with his correct name, he always
    responded to me when I called Myron all these years.
    On Thanksgiving we would invite him for dinner inside but he would
    Courtously eat outside in our foyer. We also hired him to do garden work
    and pulling weeds, he worked hard and seems to enjoy liking being in the wilds.
    On quite a few occassions when super markets and others take his cart away
    with all his belongings and bedding he would come and ring our door bell
    and told us what happpen. Fortunately we were able to accommodate him all these times. We will definately miss our homeless Christian friend, but he’s not homeless anymore but his new home is up there in Heaven. God bless you all who knew Thomas.

  47. About 25 years ago, Thomas approached my mom after Mass to introduce himself. He told her that she reminded him of his mom and since then would call out to her each time he saw her, “Mama!” with a wave and a big smile. Thomas met my daughter when she was a year old, also at church. My mom was holding her and he came to say hello to Mama and my daughter reached out and held his face in her tiny hands and moved him to tears. My told me, “Don’t ever let her lose that! That innocent, honest compassion for people.” She’s 18 now and all her life, whenever it rains or it’s cold outside, she worries about how Thomas is doing. I believe that he’s enjoying blue skies and sunshine wherever he is now! Thank you for the lessons in kindness and compassion, Thomas! We will miss you. Godspeed. ??

  48. May Myron find the tradewinds, to fly with the albatross and swim with the dolphins…or float on a cloud of butterflies. A gentle soul, indeed.

  49. Growing up on14th and Clement, now in my mid 20’s, I’ve know Thomas all my life. As a kid we used to shadow box. I’m so happy to see how many people he touched! This sucks, but I’m glad he’s in a better place now. I wish more people could learn what he taught us.

  50. Awww, I always saw him around our neighborhood when we lived on 10th Ave & Clement for 10 years. I saw him almost everyday walking over to 19th to take The 28 or along Clement for shopping. He always seems so content just to have a chit-chat. We talked about having coffee. I saw him just the other day. I’m glad he’ll live more comfortably now forever in the waters of The Bay

  51. Thomas, I will miss your twinkling smile and sage advice. We were once lions together, frolicking on the savanna. We will meet again one day, buddy, for sure.

  52. I have known Thomas all 9 years I’ve lived in The Richmond. I am so saddened to hear of his passing but so touched to hear how our community embraced him. My husband and I bought him meals and gave him food when we saw him. He was always so gracious. I will certainly miss his sweet smile and gentle prescense. The Richmond won’t be the same without you. Thank you for being you. Wishing you peace.

  53. ive known thomas since i was in kindergarten. my elementary school (Sutro Elementary School) is right across the street from where Thomas used to camp. I spoke to him a few times, and he was very kind. Whenever I’d try to give him money, he’d refuse it. Im deeply saddened to know that he had passed away.

  54. I knew Thomas for about 23 years, and it was on my suggestion that my son-in-law included him in the documentary he made on schizophrenia in the homeless population titled “Voices”. It was a lengthy, sometimes difficult process, but he was completely enthralled when I played the completed version of it for him. He would often come by our store at Eighth and Anza and ask us to cook a Cup of Noodles for him because it was still a food that he was able to eat . Towards the end of his life he had lost so many teeth that it was difficult for him to eat solid foods but he loved noodles, donuts, croissants and soft candy. Every winter I would give him a new warm jacket and sleeping bag but I always got the feeling that he was happier to see me and talk to me than he was to receive the clothing. He absolutely loved it if you gave him a lottery scratch off ticket and we had a number of interesting discussions over the years as to what he was going to do with the money that he won. I remember after I saw the documentary when it was finished and I realized that I never knew how much time he’d actually spent in the church. I found a wonderful old ornate metal cross on a chain at a pawnshop on Mission Street and I gave it to him one day when I was feeling particularly out of sorts about something or another. And as always he gave me that beautiful smile and said God bless you, and as always my cloud was lifted. People in the neighborhood and in his extended community were always trying to take care of him and give him food, clothing, or money and I know it gave his friends a genuinely good feeling to reach out to him. I’m not religious, but I have no doubt that he is at peace in a better place, and I only wish that Thomas had known how much more he gave back to all of us.

  55. I saw him many times across from the drug store, and in the back row of the star of the sea. I brought him some water and food from time to time and spoke to him. He was mystical. One time I saw him agitated, taking to the picture of someone in an ad on a bus shelter. Most times he seemed beatific. I always enjoyed speaking to him. His eyes always sparkled with light. Spirit bless you Thomas Myron Hooker.

  56. I live in another SF ‘hood, and rarely am a visitor in the spots mentioned as Thomas’ ‘home’. Lovely feelings and relationships conveyed in all the posts here; memories of warm smiles and an appreciative spirit. He clearly preferred to live a house-less existence, but all the depictions of this fellow surely attest to a man who truly had found his HOME. May all sweet persons in our communities, and in our midst share safe connectivity & respectful delight. Peace to Thomas & all his neighbors .

  57. All you wonderful people, you just fill up my heart to learn there are so many kind people in the world who do not look down on the mentally ill or homeless but are actually grateful for someone like Thomas, and can see the beauty in his soul, and welcome him to your neighborhood.

  58. Because I didn’t know too much about him, thank you to everyone who has contributed their own personal “Thomas” story. It helps develop a deeper picture of who he was while he was out neighbor.

  59. When the Internet Archive first moved in 5 years ago, I brought Thomas some food on Christmas day, and he said, “Thank you for the offer, but I am not destitute.” I was struck by the clear articulation, not what I expected. But he did accept occational money.

  60. If we could arrange it with the filmmaker– would people like to have a showing of the documentary Voices at the Internet Archive (we are at Clement and Funston)?

    If you would like this to come or volunteer or …, please write to Caitlin caitlin@archive.org

  61. Any chance someone knows how to obtain more information about Thomas? Would love to know where he was from, what his life was before he ended up on the street. My wife swears she used to see him living in his van along Fulton many years ago. Might be nice to see a mention of him in The Richmond Review.

  62. Hi Brewster, I tried to reply using the email address for Caitlin, but it didn’t go through. Please count me in to watch the film Voices.

  63. another success story of the 241 million dollar homeless program.

  64. I ran into Thomas almost every day when I lived in the Richmond. I used to give him a couple of dollars and get my hug. I had no idea that so many people knew him and it’s great that he was so loved and cherished, I had no idea. What a wonderful soul he he was. I know where ever he is, he is flying.

  65. I saw his across the street from Walgreen’s on Clements St. a couple of weeks ago…and I went in a bought him a couple of bottles of water, some raisins, some beef jerky, some peanuts..things I could think of that were nutritious and would “keep” for a while and could be eaten by hand. I brought them to him and he accepted them graciously, without any surprise. He was very sweet and kind and he said to me “I know you! You are my MOTHER…you are my mother…” And I walked away with the strangest feeling, brushing tears from my eyes. Because he had said was true: I WAS his mother in a very real sense, trying to attend to his needs, trying to show love.

  66. Yesterday evening as I drove past Clement and Funston, I looked for Thomas in his “usual place.” I was sadly surprised to see that instead Thomas, a “memorial” of flowers, crosses, and candles had appeared on the ground. (Thomas’ “place” – where he has “lived” for many years.)
    Our big, good-natured, friendly neighbor is there no more, and he will certainly be missed! It’s a comfort to read that so many others have also “known” Thomas Myron Hooker as a special person, a warm-hearted man who spread his smiles and goodwill all over the neighborhood. He was often there in prayer, at Star of the Sea Church, visiting after Mass and enjoying conversation with the priests. (Probably funny for the tourists to see a homeless person’s cart “parked” on the sidewalk, in front of the elegant old historic San Francisco church!) Thomas – pushing his cart along Clement Street, ready to wave and smile to those who greeted him, will be only a memory now. The image of his big thoughtful presence – quietly pondering a sudden downpour of rain, while standing inside the laundromat and facing the windows. And of course, his spot – there at the corner where he slept out in the elements. That last night was cold and rainy. Thomas often slept out in the cold and rain, and never had even a tent, just his little plastic tarp to wrap himself.
    Most who knew him would say he was gentle and humble. He often refused what food or drinks I wanted to leave for him, explaining that he had “enough” that day. (So I knew that many others were also caring for Thomas.)
    I saw a sad incident a few years ago, when the police were trying to clear out the homeless encampment that had popped up inside the greenbelt along Park Presidio, and poor Thomas had apparently been part of the sweep. His shopping cart and possessions had just been confiscated! The poor man, upset and inconsolable, with his hands on his head, just kept walking in circles in the middle of the street, at the intersection of Clement and Funston. So, so sad. Mental illness is an affliction that often is just beyond what society, as a whole, is able or willing to deal with. But in the neighborhood that Thomas had chosen for his “home” he was mostly appreciated, judging from the comments of the readers here. People collectively cared for him and nurtured him – to the extent that his mental illness would allow.
    Thomas was a cheery soul, inspite of whatever experiences had led his life to be that of one who must struggle to survive as Thomas had. He was a special human being to those who sought to see him as more than an “unhoused” person, much more than the mental illness with which he was afflicted. He obviously brought a lot of positive energy into the daily lives of the community.
    Rest in peace, dear Thomas Myron Hooker, and fly free to that other place where each of us will one day go! Blessings to Thomas. Blessings to all.

  67. I would love to go to a screening of Voices. Count us in!

  68. I am sad to hear about Thomas today.I was the UPS driver in the area of 8th and 16th between Geary and Fulton for over 20 years and met and talked to Thomas quite often over that 20 years.I remember telling him my name was Thomas too and he shook my hand and said that means we’re brothers for life.RIP Thomas

  69. Ps. To my previous comments I would like to add.
    I was scolded and chased by a neighbor who lived
    across the street on Funston to stop giving food to Thomss
    which I’ve been doing almost daily in the mornings.
    He was very concerned about the food mess created on
    the street and the properties value in the area will drop down.
    Because of Thomas’ mental issue he said he’ll clean it up
    as asked but not done but covered up with cardboards.
    Anyhow your worries are over, pray to him when you
    need help he’s with the Almighty now.
    Some of you probably don’t know that Thomas lost most
    of his upper teeths and not able to chew. So the food items
    given him are soft or cut into small pieces. Wondering if his
    love of sweets and sodas caused this.
    In closing did anyone seen a person in our neighborhood that
    looked very similar like Thomas ? This coul be his brother ?? ?

    most

  70. Thank you for this information. Thomas changed my life one Christmas morning 20 years ago. While I was sitting in my bay window, at my computer, smoking cigarettes, feeling sorry for myself because I was alone Christmas morning, (but headed to see people I love in a few hours). When I saw Thomas walking down the middle of the street, pouring down, heavy inner-Richmond drizzle, with a shopping cart my self-pity came to a dead halt. I had a refrigerator and counter full of food gifts from students and families. I realized (thank God) immediately how good I have it and ran to my kitchen where I loaded up a bag of things for Thomas.

    I met him out in the steeet, pouring down inner-Richmond drizzle, gave him what I had and began a very special friendship that lasted for 15 years, until I moved to the Castro. When I still had a car, I drove over to look for him and give him some money. Thomas was like a modern day Jesus to me. Rejected by society, wanders the earth being kind, giving, accepts everyone, known by his goodness, shares his joy, and he says in the video, “I suffer a lot.”

    I once entered the church and saw Thomas putting money in the poor box. I gave him a sleeping bag, and he gave it away. I regret I never spent a day with him as I thought I would. I missed him and now miss him more, knowing that I had my chance and that time has passed now. Thomas came into my life during a rough patch… I’ve had a lot of those. Reflecting on Thomas is a blessing I have forever and I feel so deeply fortunate to have known him and spent the time with him that I did. Thank you Thomas.

    I would like any PHOTOS that are available. Please send contact info to sharmsjunkmail@gmailcom

  71. On weekends, I would run into Thomas outside Walgreens, I would give him cash and ask him if he wanted anything from Walgreens, most of the time a large bottle of coke, once and only once he asked me to buy him a Twinkie bar. Thomas was always smiling, upbeat and full of joy, he would always tell me that the Lord will give me a thousands special blessings and that he loved me.

    A few years ago, I think late 2014, Thomas told me that he had spoken to God and God had told him that he would not be on this earth the following year, this saddened me as I did not know what to say to him, I am agnostic and his faith was very important to him, part of me did not want to lose him but another part wanted him to be in a better world with his God.

    I loved Thomas, he was an inspiration to me, his spirit, his kindness, I wish I had spent more time getting to know him, I agree with Sharon’s words above that he was like a modern day Jesus wandering the earth who accepted everybody.

    Rest in peace Thomas, you will be missed, always remembered, never forgotten.

  72. For the last 6 years, we’ve been Thomas’ neighbor at the Internet Archive. He always lit up the corner with his smile. It saddens me that while we were celebrating our 20th anniversary across the street, Thomas was departing this world. We would like to hold a memorial showing of the VOICES documentary that features Thomas–and the filmmaker has given us permission to show it at the Archive. We hope it will be next week sometime. We are starting plans now. Please stay posted here and help us spread the word.

  73. ’94 old slaveway on 7th in the parking lot. warm sunday afternoon, thomas comes striding through w/ a cart full of cans/bottles (a sleeker looking cart). his shirt off (dude was strong and ripped) and lil’ “scragglies” in his ‘fro from GG Park. he was on a mission.

    caught up w/ him inside while bagging. thomas used some of his recycling money on munchies. he had the biggest giggle/smile on his face and i reciprocated. he was buying 3 safeway pies (cherry if i remember correctly) and 2 Big Red Onions. that had me laughing — “can’t forget those onions, huh?”
    thomas — “(giggle) oh yea man, gotta get thee onions…” and i’m guessing he ate them like apples. dude was a beast w/ a gentle, caring soul.

    Rasta Thomas lives on . . .

  74. My heart broke when I heard the news. He was a very sweet holy man and I will miss his toothy grin and his uplifting words. We met him about 20 years ago at daily mass at Star of the Sea . He cared more about others than himself as he would ask me when I came to visit, “how is life up in Sacramento?”, or tell me his latest prophecy, then tell me God loves me very much. There were a couple times he brought me to tears sharing his advice after mass, but I had I never told him much about my personal affairs. How did he know? He always made me feel special, and delighted to see me, saying “HEY how are you, i have not seen you in so long”, like we were old friends, I guess our spirits connected somehow. Usually, I just gave him socks and occasional blanket as the folks fed him breakfast daily. My dad was so protective of Myron and so worried about feeding him, one night I was still eating dinner yet he thought I was finished and took my plate away for his leftovers. I must have been extra greedy that night . I was delighted last Christmas to find a bargain jacket at Eddie Bauer at deep discount, extra long and insulated for the winter,. He smiled gratefully and put it on, but I have not seen him wear it since. He probably gave it away or it was stolen. He was a treasure. Myron used to tell me after Star of the Sea he would visit church to church and often how he won the lottery so many times and is again going on vacation, this time to his heavenly home on vacation forever! Myron Thomas pray for us down here! Thank you for being my friend.

  75. Its sad to loose a community member…sorry for your loss. May his memory be for a blessing.
    Im certain he appreciateed all of the friendship.

  76. I’m going to miss seeing and greeting Thomas on my daily walks; he almost always had a smile; sometimes he seemed lost in conversation with an imaginary (to me) presence. He was a kind soul. I gave him a mango one day and he just gleamed with pleasure – “I LOVE mangos!”, he said.

    Occasionally, Thomas would expound on the blessings that his God had for me. He appeared to be mostly a happy man, but there were times that I could see him struggling with unknown demons. Rest in Peace, Thomas – and Godspeed.

  77. I just stopped by the little memorial the neighborhood put together at the spot he slept, and there was an announcement of funeral services to be held for Thomas at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 4420 Geary Blvd., @ 8th Ave, at 7:00 p.m. on Nov 7th.

  78. I’ve lived on 14th Ave near clement for 10 years. I don’t really know my neighbors, but I knew Thomas. He was a compelling soul, because he wasn’t tortured by his mental illness as so many homeless are. His inner peace radiated outward, so we all loved him. Let us look upon the tortured souls with as much compsssion and generosity. Rest In Peace, Thomas. I will miss you.

  79. THomas …I knew you in passing and small greetings for many years you showered me with your heart and gleaming eyes and yes with those billion trillion blessings that you gave me so ofetn ….. I always knew and felt you as i walked away…. a bettr man beter for the moment
    I have just moved to marin after 17 years in the richmond I think it a miracle ( thankyou thomas ) that i had occasion on saturday to walk past the bookstore and read in the window of your passing. I feel so sad Thomas i I would love to see you one more time… yet the blessings you gave me are with me forever. Thank-you gentle beautiful man …I am humbled to have known you ..peter

  80. I work at the Internet Archive at Clement and Funston. On Wed. night we were celebrating our 20th Anniversary with a big party. One of Thomas’ many friends on the staff, Roxanna Alfaro and her 10-year-old daughter, Eileen, took Thomas a Three Twins Ice Cream sandwich that night around 9 p.m. Eileen said he thanked her with his warm smile. Thomas’ last meal may have been that sweet ice cream. They say “you die the way you live.” In Thomas’ case that was true: he died smiling, cherished by friends, giving and receiving kindness.

  81. It’s so sad to learn about this! It’s so comforting to know so many people have been touched by Thomas and so many people love him as much as myself and my husband do. Thomas was a saintly soul and he taught so many people with his deep faith, his kindness, his innocent joy and his great courage of choosing to live his life simply and authentically. His death is such a beautiful one, “in his sleep” without ailment. We are so grateful to have known him! I met Thomas 20 years ago in Golden Gate Park sharing the roller skater’s ground for our separate early morning martial arts regimen and became friends. I will miss his smiles and his “3 billions” of flying kisses he blessed upon me every time I saw him. RIP, my friend!

  82. I feel terrible. I’m a commuter, driving into the city every day to go to work. From my car window, I saw a large, bedraggled man with an overflowing shopping cart, and a messy area at the corner he called “home.” Driving to work at the beginning of the week, I saw a tidy street corner, with flowers and a memorial. I was shocked. I stopped today to learn more, and feel so ashamed. This man had a name, a huge heart, a capacity for understanding and acceptance that is so rare, and he also had an incredibly difficult life. I pray for Thomas, and ask God for forgiveness. I’ve learned a huge lesson. In his passing, Thomas has given a gift to those of us who are ignorant. In gratitude…

  83. Thomas was a gem in our neighborhood, a gentle giant, a rare kind of gentleman. He always greeted me like a dear friend, and I always came away from our chats feeling happier. In parting he would bless me and tell me he was praying for me, and for my mother. Each time I saw him, he’d give me an update on the millions millions millions of prayers he had said for us. In his intuitive way, he might have sensed I was troubled about her. There’s no logical explanation. I’ve known him to make many uncanny observations! I met Thomas in 1995 when he was on 8th Avenue. I used to bring dinners to the bus shelter, where he frequently sat in the evenings. My husband first met Thomas when searching the store parking lot for a lost kitten, and Thomas immediately offered to help. We later visited him further along 8th by Star of the Sea, where he moved, i fear due to rude treatment from the non-local construction crew who took down the old Safeway. I realize I tried to be discreet when leaving supplies for Thomas if he wasn’t settled for the night, not sure if his presence was accepted by all. There was a period of time when I couldn’t find him and I was so relieved when he reemerged at his place on Clement and Funston. When he left us, I was grateful that his passing was noticed immediately and that word spread quickly. Now I am relieved that he will not have to endure another cold winter, tho clearly many people were looking out for him. May he rest in peace in eternal sunshine. I am heartened to see the outpouring of affection for him here and at his spot. Last time I was at his memorial, I met 5 neighbors in the first 5 minutes; Thomas was a true catalyst of community spirit. I sort of feel like we have lost our neighborhood ambassador.

  84. Perhaps Thomas was not mentally ill. It is a perception about homelessness, whether by choice or circumstance. Sun Ra, had he not become famous and influential, would be perceived as insane. It seems Thomas was a disciple of Sun Ra.

    What Thomas did was bring out the worst and best of Richmond District residents. At worst, people eluded or tolerated him. At best, people served Thomas who did not solicit. It is a remarkable interaction that might not exist elsewhere.

    “I come home from the soaring,
    in which I lost myself.
    I was song, and the refrain which is God
    is still soaring in my ears.”
    —Rilke’s Book Of Hours / Barrows & Macy

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