CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The director of a local homeless shelter said the 48-year-old man found dead under the Quarrier Street Bridge last week was a loner who sometimes visited the shelter. Robert Lee Hissom's body was found under the bridge last Wednesday.David Snead, director of the Crossroads Union Mission on Leon Sullivan Way in downtown Charleston, said Hissom had been living on the streets for some time although he stayed at the mission through the spring and summer.Hissom also came to the mission to eat meals but had not been seen there since about August.
"He was very quiet and kept to himself," Snead said.Snead believes Hissom had some mental issues."But we never had any problems with him," he added. "He was just a man of few words."He was a good person." Hissom's visits to the mission were sporadic. "Sometimes we wouldn't see him for two or three weeks," Snead said. "And then we'd see him every day." Alex Alston, chief operating officer of Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center, also on Leon Sullivan Way, said staff at his facility had talked to Hissom several times within the last couple of weeks. They had tried to persuade him to stay in the shelter."But for whatever reason, he decided not to come into the shelter," Alston said.Alston said he could not comment on whether or not Hissom had ever been a resident at Roark-Sullivan due to confidentiality concerns.It is not uncommon for homeless people to refuse to stay, Alston said."Some people just don't want to be around other people, and some of them don't want to give us their personal information," he said. "And some people don't want the stigma that comes with living in a homeless shelter."
Hissom's funeral was held Monday at Curry Funeral Home in Alum Creek. Three sisters, two nieces and one nephew survived him. He was laid to rest in Floral Hills Garden of Memories in Sissonville. Alston called Hissom's death a tragic event that could have been avoided. He noted that Hissom could have come into the shelter for a hot meal and to get warm without having to commit to staying."But the last thing we wanted to happen ended up happening," Alston said. "This is why agencies that provide services exist."Snead agreed, calling it a tragedy."There is ample opportunity for people to come in and get out of the cold," Snead said. "It's just a shame."Hissom's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy. Calls made to the Charleston Police Department for further information about his death were not returned.
Contact writer Paul Fallon at email@example.com or 304-348-4817.