Randy Glore died cold and alone.
A trashman discovered the 56-year-old homeless man’s body behind a dumpster at a Belleville gas station on Friday, March 27. Overnight temperatures had plummeted to 33 degrees. He was wearing a light jacket. Official cause of death: exposure to the elements.
No one seemed to notice.
But someone did.
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If all goes according to plan, there could be a busload of people at his funeral on Monday morning.
“Randy was a really nice man,” said Joe Hubbard, president of St. Vincent de Paul Society, who knew him for many years. “He was homeless on and off for many years. He didn’t have a job, so he lost his apartment. We put him in motels a few times. He had a rough life. He showed up at food pantries, and some of the churches worked with him.”
The coroner’s office called Hubbard to see if he could help. Hubbard gave the kindness snowball its first push.
“This happens a lot,” Hubbard said. “I got a call this week when a man died in the hospital and didn’t have anybody. And, when a mother lost her twins. If they don’t have anything, you have to help.”
Hubbard, who is also director of Mount Carmel Cemetery, supplied a gravesite and a vault. He called Belleville Township and they chipped in. He contacted Kassly Mortuary in Fairview Heights.
“We’re happy to help whenever Joe Hubbard calls,” said Jamie Blazier, funeral assistant at Kassly. “We did all the prep work. We cleaned him up and donated a suit — sometimes people bring in more than one and leave the extras — and a casket.”
Blazier called Steven Mueller Florist in O’Fallon.
“He’s so nice. He’s donating a flower spray for the casket.”
Mueller donates a flower arrangement two or three times a year.
“I’m always ready to give flowers for someone who doesn’t have anyone,” Mueller said. “Nothing makes me sadder than someone without flowers at his funeral. It just makes me sad.”
Then the folks at downtown churches and a food pantry Glore frequented pitched in.
“I expect there to be several ministers there,” Hubbard said. “(The Rev.) Cory Hartz at Trinity (United Church of Christ) is handling that.”
Faith Baptist Church is providing its church bus to take anyone who wants to go to the funeral way out on West Main.
“The church bus will leave at 9:15 sharp,” said Margaret Shankle, who said Glore was a regular at the food pantry she runs at Faith Baptist. “We hope that anyone who wants to go, including homeless people who knew him, will take the bus. They wouldn’t have any way to get there otherwise.”
Shankle said Glore was a man of few words, but he was always nice. “He had some problems ... but he liked his music. Another thing, he would let his hair grow long and then donate it to Locks of Love.”
Glore was part of an article on Belleville’s homeless that was published in March 2011.
Then 52, he said he had been homeless on and off for 15 years. He didn’t like to talk about circumstances that led him to become homeless, but he said it started with a divorce. He usually slept outside, but he wouldn’t say where.
“Where I go, nobody can see me,” he said at the time, admitting to being unable to find a job and depressed. At times, he drank heavily to cope.
Glore liked to sing and play guitar on open-mic nights at The Blue Agave on West Main Street. He didn’t get paid for it, but he loved it.
He attended church services regularly at Union United Methodist Church in Belleville, and liked to sing in the choir.
Dick Frette, business manager at Union United, had many conversations with Glore. But Glore never liked to open up or share much about his past.
“I worked with him, trying to get him to change his ways,” Frette said. “He mentioned being married once and having a dog.
“He liked to talk about trucks, too. I have a Ford pickup with four on the floor, and that’s what he used to have. It would bring a smile to his face.”
In the 2011 article, Glore said he didn’t get a government check, but he had some benefactors who “toss me a few bones here and there.” He did odd jobs — helping to build a house, hanging a chandelier.
“I always get by one way or the other,” he said. “I always get by.”