Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, May 11, 2015

NICO - R.I.P.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Nico de Ruig died yesterday. He was a funny, pious and caring man. He was the altar guild, head of the acolytes and parish character. I watched him when he served at the altar. His eyes bled tears at some of the hymns, he choked up and wept openly as the words spoke to him or reminded him of lost friends, his childhood or never to be know secrets or sorrows. Nico was a recovering alcoholic and proudly announced his clean and sober anniversaries at the prayers of the people on the appropriate Sunday.

He was a proud gay man too. He loved to dress up and show off, laugh and gossip, and work hard at the church, St. John’s. He always wore women’s blouses, sometimes, plain, flowered and in a variety of colors, reds, blues, greens and chartreuse. He was brave and bold enough to dress as he pleased. He loved brooches and pins, which glittered and dangled. He wore a ring on every finger, “just as Queen Victoria did.” He told Ann and me that one day when we visited him at the Laguna Honda Hospital Hospice where he died.
I was a bit shocked when I met him when we first came to the church. After a very short time he was just plain Nico. His dress and jewelry was as natural as the light of day and the pink at sunset. He had wispy white hair, a high forehead and ready smile for all.

He lived at the Canon Kip low cost housing building. He was a sailor in the Dutch Merchant Marine. He enjoyed his travels and pleasures of the ports, like a good sailor should. He had a raunchy but restrained sense of humor.


He knew bookkeeping and held that position for a time at St. John’s. He laced his talk with French terms like “enchante.” He was full of surprises and good humor and hard work. Rest in Peace, Nico.

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