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Updated: 'Wild Bill's' Family Speaks Out About Memorial

Service for the oft-arrested, well-known transient William Pluma Barrios--known in the community as "Wild Bill"--will be held in Hahamongna Park on Nov. 13.

Updated Wednesday: His brother was known as "Wild Bill,'' a homeless man who ranted politics as easily as he talked about rainbows.

And now, Erik Chavez, who would visit William Pluma Barrios at Hahamongna Park, where Barrios both laid his head and made friends who played Frisbee golf, is comforted to know La Cañada residents cared enough to plan a public remembrance. 

"He had a lot of friends, mostly homeless, and a lot of times society looks away from those people,'' Chavez said by phone Wednesday.

Both Chavez and his father are in the middle of making funeral arrangements for Barrios, and had hoped to reach out to the people with whom his brother spent the bulk of his last years. When he heard about the memorial service planned by a handful of congregants from La Cañada Presbyterian Church, Chavez was touched.

"He had a group of people who were always around him. They'd want to be a part of that,'' he said.

Check back on Patch as we learn more about the colorful man whose life crossed the paths of so many residents. You may view the public, memorial Facebook page here.

Earlier: The well-known La Cañada transient, "Wild Bill''----will be memorialized during a ceremony in that park on Nov. 13.

Claudia Zentmyer, a hospital chaplain, and a member of Church, wants to publicly remember William Pluma Barrios, whose nickname derived from a life bedeviled by alcohol. Although she did not know Barrios well, Zentmyer did have several encounters with him over the years.

"I want to do a service because every human being has value as a child of God.  I sensed a need to have a memorial service for Bill since I heard of his death. He was always sweet to me in response to gifts of food, etc.,'' she said.

Barrios, 54, was , which led to many calls to the . He most often slept in Hahamongna Park, which is right across the street from .

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Wednesday that cause of death has not been determined yet.

Barrios, whose multiple arrest reports indicated he suffered from mental disabilities, often came in contact with students. Many of the teens commented on his life and death--you can read those sentiments here.

Zentmyer said she checked with the CV Sheriffs Station and the Pasadena Police, but no one is aware of any family.

"Bill was a part of our community for many years.  He was both a responsibility and a blessing to our community. We need to gather to remember him,'' she said.

Zentmyer and a group of friends from La Cañada Presbyterian will host a service starting at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Hahamonga Park. Folks will meet in the parking lot by the softball field and, from there, move to an available location. Any members of the community who would like to attend are invited, Zentmyer said.

Susan McConnell November 08, 2011 at 07:52 AM
I am very grateful that Bill is being remembered in his favorite park and his eventual resting place. I have watched and fed him at times for years and, although I sometimes made him mad, we had an understanding. After his death I contacted several local folks and was hoping some good soul would organize a memorial. Just today I found out two very important pieces of info, Bill's favorite song and an issue that he brought up over and over. His song was " Nowadays, Clancy Can't Even Sing" by Buffalo Springfield and his cause was " the trail of broken treaties". Info on both are easily available on Google search. Anything I can do to help I will gladly do. Wouldn't it be great if we could find someone to sing that song on the day? If not, I can bring a recording. My email is susan@turfgirl.com. Hope you are out in the stars with Joe Frazier tonight, Bill. All the best.
Susan McConnell November 08, 2011 at 09:14 AM
What is your point? Nothing to add that is useful? Don't take up the space.
Susan McConnell November 08, 2011 at 09:18 AM
They were a scattered and broken family. It is not always possible to "take care" of a person who is terribly mentally incapacitated. The whole story is very convoluted. If you would like to help figure it out, please do. Look around you. People don't take care of the families right under their own roof! Just trying to send Bill off with a bit of decency. Is that a bad thing?
Susan McConnell November 08, 2011 at 09:22 AM
You might want to volunteer down at Union Station in Pasadena and help serve breakfast, lunch or dinner. See it for yourself. Not everyone is fixed by a family member showing up to rescue them. Lots of I'll folks out there and proud to be a volunteer at Union Station. Help out. It's easy.
Randy Wend February 03, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Bill and I were friends in junior high and would have remained so had my family not moved to Colorado. Even back then he was a free spirit, but very bright and very kind. I've always wondered what became of Bill and I always feared that his life didn't turn out particularly well. This is very sad.

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