All that remained this morning on the rain-soaked bench today is a photograph, a single violet, and a note reading “Anita M. Floyd, Oct. 14, 1935-Nov. 29, 2006 ‘Smiles from Heaven.'” Yesterday, however, the space was covered in bouquets, letters, and photographs that created a makeshift memorial.
Anita M. Floyd died Wednesday morning from complications of a heart attack. For those who regularly walked by 6th & Ash, Floyd was a constant presence on the bench. Here she asked for money and said hi or smiled to anyone walking by.
“Rain or shine she'd be over on that bench. Seven days a week,” said Robert Hannick (or “Bubbles” as most in the area know him). Hannick knew Floyd for the past 4 and a half years that she'd lived in Portland. He was one of the first to find out about Floyd's passing and shared the information with many people who regularly spoke or shared money with Floyd, and were concerned with her absence.
For employees of the numerous nearby businesses, Floyd's face already seems to be missed. She was first taken to Legacy Good Samaritan hospital two weeks ago when she suffered the attack. Sarah Brandt, who works at Island Joe's Tropical Café, was working the day that Floyd was taken away. Brandt said Floyd was a regular at the café, where she used the bathroom every morning and would often talk to her. Tina Rickard who works at Kitchen Kaboodle said the whole staff and been deeply saddened by her death. Rickard said all the employees spoke to her regularly and many would share cigarettes and talk to Floyd.
Delores Hendricks, who works at the Alder Street Parking Garage, would talk to Floyd daily and often pray with her or bring her tuna fish sandwiches. She inadvertently started the memorial after buying a lily and placed it on the bench for Floyd. She was happy to see how many people had been similarly touched by Floyd with the numerous other flowers that appeared.
Floyd had just moved off the street two months previous to her attack with Max Wilson and Derik Morgan, who consider her a mother and she referred to as “her boys.” Despite moving off the street, she still would always come down and sit at the bench to ask for money and talk to her regulars. Morgan said he was touched by the outpouring of support for Floyd he has seen.
“People of all sorts knew her,” he said. “She was a selfless person.” Morgan is planning an informal memorial for Floyd at her bench 2pm next Wednesday.