HOUSTON - Louis Butler, a beloved homeless man in Fort Bend County, died early this week and local residents remembered him in a one-of-a-kind vigil Tuesday evening.
The vigil was held at The Handlebar Cyclery in Richmond.
"It will be a time for all of us to gather together and pray for the soul of Mr. Louis. A time of reflection and a time for love, comfort and hope for Mr. Louis and many others who suffer from homelessness and mental illness," a Facebook post read.
Because Butler loved Dr. Pepper, people attending the vigil were asked to bring a can or a bottle of Dr. Pepper, or an item that would "help you feel the love we have for humanity and others."
Butler's sister, Versie Thomas, said her older brother never met a stranger and she is touched by the outpouring of support.
"He was always trying to stay in a happy space by roaming and meeting a different person he didn’t know. It made him happy," Thomas said.
Authorities say they found Butler at Wessendorff Middle School on Sunday after receiving a welfare check call. He died sometime later at the hospital. Rosenberg police say his cause of death is currently under investigation. His family says he battled pneumonia the past few weeks.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Butler family and all of those affected by his passing,” Rosenberg police officers wrote on Facebook.
Butler was known as Mr. Louis on the local Facebook page The Wonderful World of Mr. Louis, which followed his bicycle journeys around the area and discussed small acts of kindness by community patrons toward the local man.
Community remembers Mr. Louis
Community members in Fort Bend County came together to honor Mr. Louis with his favorite drink, Dr. Pepper.
"Smiles and wheels, always on a bicycle," said Jethro Morris, from Handlebar Cyclery.
"He rode with glory and he never wavered," said community member, Debbie France.
Mr. Louis Butler made lots of people smile.
Whenever they would spot him riding his bike on the side of the road in Fort Bend County, they would stop to help him. Some would give him clothes, food, drinks, money.
"When I realized there were so many other people in the community that were watching out for him and taking care of him it was so refreshing and heartfelt," France said.
"He had his own Facebook page out here where people would report sightings of him to make sure they still saw him," said Maj. Chad Norvell, from the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department.
Community members called Mr. Louis a free spirit.
"At all times of day -- whether it be out after dinner, or driving home, or pitch black at night -- you could always spot Louis a mile away and I'd stop and pick him up," Morris said.
The community is heartbroken but wants to keep his memory alive.
"That people loved him and he was a complete stranger, which is really what life is all about," France said.
"We could learn a lot from him, just taking a step back and noticing the simpler things in life. That's what he lived for," said community member Oscar Pineda.
Mr. Louis' family is hoping to have funeral arrangements set for this weekend.
One woman from Fort Bend County is helping to pay for those arrangements.
Any money raised will help with funeral arrangements, and will also go to help the homeless and mental health organizations in his honor.
Some folks also are planning to hold a bike ride in his honor in the near future.
Do you have a special memory of Mr. Louis? Share it with us in the comments.
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