A Saturday Memorial For Another Old-Timer Who Is No Longer Here

by Travis Mateer

I found out yesterday that another old timer–known to his street friends as “Grizzly”–passed away from cancer. He was a gentle teddy bear with a gruff exterior and voice that boomed, often seen around town rolling cigarettes and reading paperbacks. Griz was always giving people gifts, and would pass along stuff he came across that he thought my kids would like. I’m going to miss him.

The walking bridge by campus, where I took this picture, is also where I met an eccentric street person when I first moved to Missoula 23 years ago. Not many people remember Tommy, probably because a more famous Tommy (the Leprechaun) is usually who comes to mind, but this Tommy used a micron pen to draw very intricate drawings, like this one:

Another homeless person who is dead–a mentally ill woman by the name of Holly–died under circumstances I’m currently investigating. I’ve gotten unofficial confirmation of her death from one official source, and several unofficial sources, so I’m pretty sure she’s dead, but it’s the MANNER of death I’m wondering about.

All I’ll say at this point is that her death was violent, and her assailant ended up dead by his own hand quickly afterward, so it doesn’t appear awareness of her death went much farther than a small circle. If anyone has any insight, my email is willskink at yahoo dot com.

I’d email the Missoulian about this 3pm memorial, but those pretenders are too busy quoting a CURRENT staff member of the Poverello Center because he’s a much better token than I could ever dream to be.

“I strongly feel that when we look at our community we need to be making decisions that consider everybody,” said Poverello Center employee Riley Jacobsen, “not just folks who are living in homes, because ultimately we all live in Missoula, even those who are living in tents.”

I wonder how the article would read if a former coordinator of the Poverello’s Homeless Outreach Program was a SUPPORTER of the ordinance? I guess we’ll never know.

If you would like to help fund the knowing MY reporting produces, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work, while hitting up the donation button at my about page is another.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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