When you ask people who knew him about Steven McCausey, one of the first things they mention is his smile.
“He always stood out there with Real Change and smiled,” said Carol Allen, who works in the Seattle-King County Public Health office where McCausey sold the paper. “Even if it was raining, he was out there with Real Change.”
McCausey died unexpectedly at age 60. He’d been a Real Change vendor since 2010 and was known in the office for his kindness and effort to make other people feel comfortable and secure in the community he had found.
Gretchen Schultz worked full time in the vendor program for a year, helping vendors with personal and technical challenges. McCausey found out that they both came from Michigan and had attended rival universities.
“Every time he went to the office, he would mention a random Michigan State University or University of Michigan game as though I kept up, which I didn’t,” Schultz said. “It was nice, because I had just moved to Seattle.
“He was such a sweet person, always wanted to make people feel comfortable, always wanted to connect in some way,” Schultz said. “He always had the biggest smile on his face.”
McCausey was often out and about, selling Real Change or enjoying the unique offerings of Seattle. When Schultz told him she wanted to attend an event, invariably McCausey had already gone. Before heading to the Solstice Festival, McCausey told Schultz about an artist who made marbles. She bought some and brought them to the Real Change office for him.
“It was a blissful moment,” Schultz said.
At the time, McCausey was housed in an apartment in Capitol Hill and acting as a caregiver for a dear friend. He had a small balcony that he turned into a verdant garden with cleverly constructed edifice to make the most out of a small space.
He had a curtain of vines that spilled from the top to the surface of the balcony of which he once brought pictures to the office, said Jenn Romo, former volunteer manager at Real Change.
“He was super generous with anything garden related,” Romo said, thinking of his contributions to her own garden of sorrel, nasturtium seeds and a watering can.
McCausey wasn’t one of Real Change’s top sellers — that wasn’t what he was there for. He was there to build and enjoy community with vendors, staff and the people at his sales spot. He attended Seattle Storm and Mariners games organized through Real Change, and became close friends with Sharon Jones, another vendor the community lost this year.
He touched people in the Public Health building, even those who didn’t know him directly, Allen said.
“As one person put it, and to me this really personifies what Steven was: He had a bright spirit,” Allen said.
Read the full July 10 - 16 issue.
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