Coworkers and friends of a beloved St. Albans man who passed away in July are requesting monetary donations to arrange for a proper funeral and memorial service in remembrance of the resident who always greeted everyone with a smile.
Edward Nesbitt (“Eddie”), 68, was found unresponsive in his St. Albans home on the morning of July 24, when his advocates and coworkers — Aura Moody and Ethel Williams — called 911 having not heard from Nesbitt when they visited his home for a wellness check-up.
“We have a good faith and belief that Mr. Nesbitt was a victim of bureaucracy. We would like to dignify him with a decent funeral so his soul can rest in peace. Eddie was an amazing, friendly, hard-working, funny and polite gentleman. He was loved by all,” according to the GoFundMe page created Sept. 10 to pay for the cost of the funeral.
Nesbitt, who grew up in a foster home and didn’t know his biological family, had cognitive and medical disabilities — he couldn’t read or write. Unable to represent/advocate for services and entitlements for himself, Nesbitt signed authorization-consent letters giving Moody, Williams, and Marion Fitzgerald permission to advocate on his behalf with respect to his retirement and pension benefits and other services he needed, without expecting any retribution, they said.
After working for the DOE/Office of School Food Services for 41 years, Nesbitt was terminated from his job in 2013 at I.S. 238Q after missing several days of work when he became sick, not knowing the right steps to take to notify the DOE. Upon his termination, Nesbitt was not provided with any information about his benefits. He had lost his health insurance and income, among other things.
“He basically only knew how to write his name and couldn’t read when he received letters from the DOE about his pension and reapplying for the benefits plan,” Williams said. “Ms. Moody was trying to get him a place to stay and looking into options. It was very difficult. She reached out to anyone she thought could help him. He should’ve had someone helping him all along, but no one was there.”
Aware of Nesbitt’s situation, his advocates reached out to numerous governmental, nonprofit/pro-bono advocacy agencies and politicians to advocate on his behalf, but most of their requests fell on deaf ears.
“Upon Eddie’s demise, we have attempted to locate any living relative, hoping someone would come forward before his corpse is released from the City Morgue and funeral arrangements can be made, but to no success,” Moody said.
Moody, Williams and Fitzgerald are hoping they reach their goal of $20,000 for the funeral; so far, they have raised a total of $2,055 and would like to bury Nesbitt as soon as possible.
“He was happy. He was a good loving guy and a lot people knew him,” Williams said. “I was very much emotionally distraught when he passed away — I wasn’t expecting it at all. He will definitely be missed.”
The women have expressed their heartfelt gratitude to all of the donors who have pitched in to assist with funeral arrangements expenses.
“Eddie cannot be cremated in the absence of a next-of-kin. He loved life, and he touched many lives! He was resilient, courageous, gregarious and fun to be around,” Moody said. “He always had a smile on his face despite his challenges. He tried to overcome adversity with the support of his advocates and friends who took him under their wings.”