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



Steve Hord died on May 6, 2015. He was in his eighties, sick with emphysema and had trouble speaking. He knew what he wanted to say but could not get his mouth to say the words, a huge frustration for him.

Pictures of him earlier in his life show him as a very handsome man. His lovely smile and blue eyes lasted well into his sad last years. He proudly announced that he had been kicked out of the best schools, Andover and Yale. He was from a well off family from suburban Chicago. He worked as a stockbroker.  He never married but sired a child with a woman friend and Steve looked after his son and paid the necessary expenses. They were on good terms with each other. He had pictures in his apartment of his son and the son’s wife and their children.

I met Steve when he came to one of my therapy groups in the 70s. He did not work on any personal issues and I think he hoped to meet a woman. He was fun and playful at the farm where the sessions were held. I did not see him for many years. However, in the last fifteen years we connected again through our mutual friend Adam Green.

He was a member of the San Francisco Tennis Club on Bush St. He often, along with Adam, took me to lunch there. I would tease him that I was uncomfortable as a socialist in this bastion of capitalism. Though not a churchman, he always introduced me as Fr. Cromey. I thought perhaps my minor notoriety was impressive to him and others. He always wore a suit coat over his shirt and trousers.

I noticed that he tried to relate to some of the women at the club with no success that I could see. His speech problem was better when he was being real and sincere. The mind to mouth problem came when he was just chatting or being inauthentic.

After a while his money was running out and I would slip him a ten to offset my lunch at the club. He teased me that it was never enough.

Steve told me he was a recovering alcoholic. He never drank in my presence and told me he went to AA meetings regularly. He once said he went in part to be with other people. He hinted that he was seeing one woman regularly. He said he had alienated his sister by performing badly while drunk at dinners in her home. She, however, made sure he was well cared for in his last days. He liked to swim and went regularly to the pool in North Beach. I went there once with him.

He was a sad and lonely man. He never spoke with me about his feelings. He would joke or change the subject when things got too personal. He lived alone in a small apartment on Alta Street above North Beach. He made sure to get out every day, to the pool, an AA meeting and occasionally to have lunch with me and perhaps others. I always thought he wanted something from me but I never determined what. He did say one time that he did little to help humanity.

I knew Steve as a man haunted but of good cheer.



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