Friends, Homeless Advocates Honor Man Found Dead in Boise Park 

click to enlarge Henry Krewer, founder of Corpus Christi House: "A lot of people think homelessness is a lonely thing; it's not." - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Henry Krewer, founder of Corpus Christi House: "A lot of people think homelessness is a lonely thing; it's not."


A lovely mid-winter Sunday afternoon framed a somber remembrance of Perry "Rusty" Woodard Feb. 7, as more than a dozen people stood near the location in Boise's Julia Davis Park where Woodard's body was discovered nearly a week earlier.

"A lot of people think homelessness is a lonely thing; it's not," said Henry Krewer, who has dedicated a lifetime to helping the poor, including as co-founder of Corpus Christi House, a Boise day shelter for the homeless. "We support that community any way we can."

Nonetheless, Woodard, 48, was alone Jan. 30 when his body was discovered near the bank of the Boise River in Julia Davis Park. Woodard's extended family is in eastern Idaho and that's where they buried his remains on Feb. 6. In 1991, Woodard was diagnosed with a disability and had spent time at assisted living facilities in central, eastern and western Idaho. 

"We claim him as one of our own," said Barbara Kemp, advocate and member of the Boise and Ada County Homeless Coalition. "We honor his humanity, dignity and life."
click to enlarge Flowers, a candle and photo honored the life and passing of Perry "Rusty" Woodard. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Flowers, a candle and photo honored the life and passing of Perry "Rusty" Woodard.

A makeshift memorial of flowers, a candle and photo of Woodard was propped up in the park as attendees sang two verses of "Amazing Grace." They later walked the flowers to the riverside to place them at the spot where Woodard died. 

"One of the things that we recognize at Corpus Christi House is that the more you spend time with men and women without a home, the more you realize that each story is unique," said Marc Schlegel, pastor of the Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship. "Being homeless was not Rusty's only story."

Kemp later told Boise Weekly that advocates were hopeful about the city of Boise's soon-to-be unveiled "Housing First" program to help the homeless, but it "addresses only a fraction of what is needed."

"We we have hundreds more [people] who are incompatible with shelters—still out in the cold—and thousands who are 'homeless in waiting' because they cannot meet monthly bills," she told BW. "High-end apartments and hotels are being built at a rate that far outpaces any creation of affordable housing."
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