BANGOR, Maine — The funeral for a homeless man struck and killed a week ago in downtown Bangor will be paid for by the city — if no family steps forward — and is planned for sometime next week, according to the Rev. Stan Moody, a senior pastor at Columbia Street Baptist Church.
A notice about the death of Robert Wallace West, 50, who was nicknamed, “JR,” ran in the Bangor Daily News on Thursday.
“Because no relative has stepped forward, this is a legal notice to clear the city and the funeral home for burial,” Moody said. “If no one responds, the earliest JR can be buried in a General Assistance plot will be 15 days from the date of death.”
West was struck by a man who lives on Clinton Street at about 8:35 p.m. May 30 while West was crossing the street in front of the Bahaar Pakistani Restaurant, where he often enjoyed a free weekend meal. The man driving the car broke no laws and will not be charged, Bangor police Detective Sgt. Dave Bushey said in email last week.
West, who was a regular at the Hope House, a shelter for people with drug and alcohol addictions, often could be seen sitting on a bench outside Mexicali Blues, which is located directly across Hammond Street from the Pakistani restaurant. He had a lengthy criminal history that made him a lifetime registrant on the Maine Sex Offender Registry.
Some, including Lonya Julin of Old Town, remember a kinder side of the man. Her nickname for West was “Brother Rose.”
“Thorns, yes. And beautiful flowers too. Just like all of us,” Julin posted on her Facebook page in the days after West’s death.
When reached Sunday, Julin said she planned to attend his memorial service.
Whenever there is an unclaimed body, whoever is in possession of the body or remains, either the state medical examiner or funeral home, contacts the person’s hometown and the community’s General Assistance program to pay for a burial, according to Mark Belserene, spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office.
“What we are planning, if no one comes forward, is to have a memorial service at Columbia Street Baptist Church, to end about an hour before the burial,” Moody said.
The burial is planned for Mt. Hope Cemetery by Brookings-Smith Funeral Home.
“Plans will be firmed up by the end of next week for a memorial and graveside service the week of June 15,” Moody said.