Inside and Out

The title for the article “Homeless Man Dies” does not give any indication of the person Ronald Cornell Woods was to those who knew him. I met him in Isla Vista Park when he lived outside, but I also knew him when he lived inside. Regardless, whether he lived in a park or within four walls, he was a human being I cared about deeply. He was my precious friend. Ron died peacefully last week with his sister and two beautiful sons by his side. He has a mother and father who love him, other siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

He was also valued by those who lived beside him in the park and those who knew him throughout the community. Ron was a brilliant man who had many degrees, talents, and life experiences. It was always fun to have thoughtful intellectual conversations with Ron. He could play a mean harmonica and was an amazing artist. He had a great sense of humor. Despite his brokenness, he always cared deeply for others. That was what Ron was all about: relationships.

For whatever reason, and God only knows, he ended up in the park in his last days on earth, afflicted by “demons” he could not overcome. That didn’t make him any less of a human being. It has blessed me tremendously to have been able to call Ronnie Woods, “homeless man,” my friend.—Sheryl Stratman


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