In memory of an Echo Park neighbor named Bill

Gloria Sohacki and her neighbors only knew him as Bill. He was the homeless man who slept across the street from her apartment in the rear entrance to the Episcopal cathedral near Echo Park Lake. For several years he would rise from his sleeping bag at 6 AM after Sohacki opened her garage door on her way to exercise class. “I guess I was his alarm clock,” she wrote in a short story sent to The Eastsider. But on Thursday, after finishing exercise class, Sohacki returned to her home on Laguna Avenue to find the church gardener staring at Bill lying on the ground. The firefighters, who arrived a few minutes later, didn’t bother to try and revive him. Bill was already gone.

“Everyone looked out for him. If someone broke into a car in the evening you could bet that Bill knew what the person looked like and what the person was wearing. We gave him clothes, blankets, some neighbors even gave him a tent last Christmas … Bill was alone but somehow someone knew him, he was someone’s son, maybe a father, maybe a grandfather. I will never know. I hear the Church is going to have a memorial for Bill. I will attend for Bill, for all the other Bills.”

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