A brief remembrance of Michael Webster

posted by Mike on June 12th, 2011

When I read that a pedestrian named “Michael Dennis Webster” was killed in a hit-and-run, I wondered: was that our Michael Webster?

Today Scott Schaeffer-Duffy confirmed that, unfortunately, it was.

I first met Michael when I lived at the Catholic Worker. One night at 2am someone was crashing around the kitchen. I went downstairs to discover a drunk man who’d wandered in (no locks on the doors) to make coffee and a sandwich. He said, “It’s OK, ask Scott.” Turns out it wasn’t OK, but Michael was about the most pleasant drunken stranger you could ask for.

I know Michael caused some people a world of trouble. I was lucky: he was always nice to me, drunk or sober. One person I talked to shared my opinion:

I never had a problem with Mike. I liked his poetry. He did steal my shoes one time. But other than that, he was a cool guy. In fairness, he did take my shoes, and I saw him wearing them, and I asked him about it, and he said, “Oh, is it OK if I take these shoes?” And I said sure. So, in hindsight, he asked permission.

Here’s something I wrote 5 years ago:

I ran into Michael Webster briefly at the Java Hut Tuesday morning, and was glad that he came by the house yesterday morning for a cup of coffee and a long chat. He wrote me a poem and said I could publish it.

Unendless Chord
Please Lord Jesus take away my fears,
that lead me into the devil’s snares.
Lead me instead towards your heavenly reward,
where the angels play the harps’ unendless chord.

I pray that Michael shuffled through the pearly gates Friday night, no matter what St. Peter said. Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than ask permission.

Michael’s obituary in the Catholic Radical:
Michael Dennis Webster was struck by a hit-and-run driver just before midnight on June 3rd. He died later that night. He was 58 years old.

Michael was a frequent visitor to the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker, sometimes asking for food, clothing, or a blanket, but just as often offering a poem or drawing for our newsletter. He was a drinker who slept on the street too often during his shortened life. He was a drinker and a dreamer. He is missed. We pray that he has reached a safe harbor at long last.

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6 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On August 8, 2011 at 08:50 David Webster said:

    I am Michael’s brother David and I appreciate the writer’s kind words about him. Michael certainly led a troubled life but he was a kind person and will be missed by many who knew him. Thank you.

  2. On August 8, 2011 at 14:40 Joan Conley said:

    I am Michael’s sister Joan and he does deserve the kind words. Those who knew Michael knew what a kind man he was. He would never hurt a sole. He was gentle and thoughtful. I pray that my brother has reached his safe harbor. I think of you everyday Michael.
    Love, you!

  3. On August 8, 2011 at 17:14 madeline said:

    i am still in shock .
    i am still in denial
    i can not believe mickee
    is gone forever and wont be coming
    back.it saddens me the last time i saw mick,he wouldnt say hi,he had a new girlfriend,maybe he felt bad,i m not sure
    with mickee you just never knew what was in store
    many times,i d get a phone call,2 maybe 3 am
    your boyfriend wanted us to let you know he s ok.
    a few times i drove a ways to pick him up,1 detox/rehad
    another time a call from jail
    hospitals,booze,cough syrup, me n mickee used to say to each other
    poor misunderstood molly poor misunderstood mickee and than we would both laugh.he could draw like no tomorrow,he write poetry very well,he liked to live on the edge.when my daughter was little,she looked up to him and they adored each other,than the hurt started to come,we both hurt each other n went our seperate ways.i miss him,i just expect him to show up at my door and say molly do ya need a cage cleaned or anything done you dont want to do…..he left to soon,i thought for sure the angels would take him in his own bed when he was elderly

  4. On August 8, 2011 at 17:52 madeline garvey said:

    i miss mickee,everyone else knew him by michael,mike
    we were a couple for almost 4 years,me mickee and my daughter,we shared alot together.i still think mickee will drop by and ask if i need help to clean a pets cage.i have both good memories and hurtful memories,i m trying to focus on the happy ones.i wrote something on this site a few mins.ago and now its gone like my mickee.it saddens me that some careless person took his life the way they did.what a waste,he had a bunch more living to do….i still cant get in my head he is gone,when i see certain people,i think hey thats mic but its really not…………………..

  5. On August 9, 2011 at 07:55 Tara Flanagan said:

    Michael was my uncle and when he passed away my heart broke with memories of an uncle I barely knew but a heart so kind you could feel when he was around. His gentle soul was evidenced in the homemade gifts he would bring his nieces and nephews at the holidays. Poems and drawings that were hard to understand or appreciate at such a young age. What I wouldn’t give to have saved just one of those poems or drawings. The problems he had cannot be forgotten but what I remember most is his incessant coffee drinking and his heart of gold. That is what I choose to remember of the uncle I wish I had known better.

  6. On July 24, 2012 at 13:22 Debbie & Mark said:

    Mark and I met Mike when he lived on Chatham st.He helped us when we were Homeless.I was expecting twins at that time.Once i got help with a apt. He would come over and visit.He would draw and write poetry. I tried to give him a lesson on the computer. He wanted to learn so he could write.We submitted a few poems online. Once my twins were born I named them Joshua Micheal & Joseph Edward. He was blown away he said I have a son named Joshua Micheal. We had no Idea he had a son. He was a wonderful person that out shined his faults. We haven’t heard from him since we had moved and lost contact. I learned today July 2012 we lost a friend that we will never forget.

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