Gregory Devoy, a 53-year-old homeless man who had been in the area since around 2005, died on 1/10 from heart disease on Stearn’s Wharf. He was well known to the homeless community in Santa Barbara, social worker Ken Williams said. According to witnesses, Devoy was walking on the wharf when he collapsed at about 4:45 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Devoy is believed to be the first homeless person to die this year in Santa Barbara. Thirty homeless people died here last year.
John Van Aken, a volunteer mental health advocate and retired lawyer, passed away during the weekend. Described as a tireless worker on behalf of the mentally ill homeless, he was regarded as a compassionate man. He served as president of the board for the Santa Barbara chapter of the Mental Health Association, as well as for the board of the California Mental Health Association. Van Aken, who was 87, fought hard to increase awareness of the mentally ill in jail.