Friends gather to bury homeless man

William “Bob” Pearce, a homeless alcoholic, died alone a week ago in a vacant house without heat, bu
Larry Lonczak of the Capital Rescue City Mission, center, and others place flowers on the casket of the late William "Bob" Pearce on Monday in Schenectady’s Vale Cemetery.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Larry Lonczak of the Capital Rescue City Mission, center, and others place flowers on the casket of the late William "Bob" Pearce on Monday in Schenectady’s Vale Cemetery.

William “Bob” Pearce, a homeless alcoholic, died alone a week ago in a vacant house without heat, but he was surrounded by friends at his burial Monday in Vale Cemetery.

City police found Pearce’s body Jan. 22 inside 758 1/2 State St. He may have been dead one or more days. Results of an autopsy were unavailable Monday.

The county Department of Social Services paid for Pearce’s funeral, and he was buried in a section of Vale reserved for indigent people. Donations from the community will pay for a marker for his grave.

About 25 people attended Pearce’s burial. None were relatives or immediate family, just friends who met him when he sought treatment for his alcoholism or wanted a hot meal at a local shelter or needed a warm place to sleep.

Many remembered him as a kind man destroyed by an un-named tragedy in the past. He was from Binghamton and came to Schenectady about 10 years ago, essentially to receive alcohol rehabilitation services, said friend Mark Mahoney.

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