Last January, Bernal Heights mourned the death of Stephen Stymiest, the homeless neighbor and gentleman who lived in Precita Park. This week, Stephen’s 21 year-old son came to Precita Park to learn more about the man he never really knew and visit the place his father had called home.
Reporter Zusha Elinson from the Bay Citizen was on hand to talk with Brent Lawson, 21, who last saw his father when he was 5 years-old:
On the last Sunday in January, weeks before Stymiest’s family learned of his death, more than 40 neighbors gathered at a spot in the park where he often spent his days. There were songs and cookies and eulogies, and the event was recorded in the neighborhood blog, Bernalwood.wordpress.com.
“It wasn’t until I heard about what happened to him that everything came out about who he was. And I learned a lot about him, about what a nice guy he was, how smart he was, how he enjoyed life,” Lawson said.
Dear neighbors, meet Stephen’s son:
The last part of the Bay Citizen story is heartbreaking:
“We all wished we would meet him someday, but you know. . . It’s just what happened,” Lawson said.
For the rest of the day, Lawson sat in the park where his father sat.
“This is where he was every day,” he said. “It might just be a regular bench to most people, but it’s more than that to me.”
The full Bay Citizen article is a must-read, and it also includes two more video segments from their interview with Brent Lawson.
On behalf of everyone here who knew Stephen, Bernalwood would like to extend our most sincere and grateful welcome to his son. Thank you, and thank you for coming to Bernal Heights.
PHOTOS: Top, Stephen Stymiest, via Telstar Logistics