RIP Stephen, Familiar Resident of Precita Park

RIP Stephen

Stephen's Bench

Sad news: Stephen, the homeless gentleman who lived in the western end of Precita Park, died on January 20.

Neighbor Jennifer fills in the backstory:

Stephen – a longtime resident of Precita Park (he lived at the picnic tables on the park) – passed away last week.  I noticed a flyer near the tables while I was out walking the dogs this morning.  Not sure how the readership feels about the homeless, but to me Stephen felt like a real part of the neighborhood.  His memorial is this coming Sunday @ 11 am.

From the note posted near the picnic benches, it sounds like he died of multiple organ failure while in hospice. Last I saw of him was Christmas morning (or the morning after?) when the ambulance came to pick him up. As you may know, he was jumped while sleeping in the park this fall and injured badly. He recuperated in the hospital and in the house(s) of neighbors, and came back to the park briefly before leaving for good. I am not sure he really ever recovered.

Super sad. He has been a mainstay of my daily dog walks in Precita Park for the past ~ 7 years. I always appreciated his friendly smiles and greetings. He looked out for me – kept me posted on chatter in the neighborhood, let me know if sketchy things were going on. I always felt safer and happier with him around.

I’ll second that. Stephen was unfailingly polite and always particularly gracious to Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter — as a fixture in the neighborhood, he was also a fixture in my daughter’s life from the time she was born. “She’s getting big! So fast!” he would say. It made my daughter blush.

As Neighbor Jennifer mentioned, there will be a remembrance for Stephen on Sunday, January 29 at 11 am, at the picnic benches on the west end of the park where Stephen enjoyed passing the time.

Lastly, and sadly, I was unable to find any photos of Stephen. If you have one that we can post here, please send it to us at bernalwood at Thank you.

PHOTOS: Top, sign in Precita Park. Below, the bench where Stephen often rested. By Telstar Logistics

13 thoughts on “RIP Stephen, Familiar Resident of Precita Park

  1. Too sad, I knew him when I lived in the area and walked my dog, Teddy. A gentleman who kept the park safe. Always a smile and kind word for me and my dog. Terrible to think the was jumped and hurt so bad.
    Rest in peace.

  2. We sure miss him. He was such a fine person. Taught my son how to make a sun dial. And such a good caring person for the Park.

  3. I want to thank all of the writers and commenters here for the wonderful compassion expressed in your words. An occasional user of Precita, usually with small children at the playground, I live closer to Garfield Park. Where trying to introduce some compassion about the presence of *people* who are homeless has been a challenge. Bless you all for your open hearts. I’m sure you brought as much joy to Stephen’s life as he did to yours.

  4. stephen–i am so sorry that i didn’t know your name. that doesn’t reflect well on me, because you made my occasional trips to the park happier and brighter. you kept a look out for missing dogs and cheered on the kids. i hate that you were hurt–good people don’t deserve bad things.

    i hope your girlfriend, and other friends and family, are doing as well as can be under the circumstances. you were a great neighbor, and will be missed.

  5. He was always very friendly, which made it even more heartbreaking to watch him decay, to witness the effects of severe alcoholism first-hand.

  6. Very sad news, you will be missed Stephen. I’ll remember Stephen as a friendly guy, upbeat in spite of difficulties, and gracious.

  7. Pingback: Precita Neighbors Gather to Remember Stephen | Bernalwood

  8. I remember Stephen’s face filled with joy when I gave him the Mexican blanket. I told him that it was special blanket given to me from a friend from Guadalajara… and now I was giving it to him. I was wondering where he was. When I droved by last Sunday, I saw the blanket and stopped to see if it was the one I gave him…. and was sadden to see that it was a memorial to him.

  9. I am Stephen’s sister-in-law, Lois. When I saw the article I was very sad. Stephen was always very nice to me, my husband and my children. Every time he saw my children he would have m&m’s for them. When my husband saw his picture he immediately knew it was Stephen, because he always folded his baseball hat down the middle. He was always very friendly, charming and fun to be around. Other family members enjoyed his company as well. He was so fun. I have to say that I am so sorry his life ended up the way it did. I’d never wish that anyone live there life the way he did, and we always wondered where he was, and what he was up to…
    . I am so sorry he felt like a lost sole. However, I am glad he did share his life with a girlfriend and fine neighbors, and was not totally alone. I feel for his children. His children were so lucky that there mom, my sister, met a wonderful man who fathered them like his very own. However, the children will always have a special place in there heart for Stephen. RIP and God’s speed… Everyone will miss you!

  10. Pingback: One Year Later, Stephen Stymiest’s Daughter Wonders About the Dad She Didn’t Know | Bernalwood

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