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Well-known lakecity homeless man dies in hospital

A well-known homeless man in Williams Lake died early Wednesday in the hospital.

Ray Palmer, better known by his nickname “Fingers,” had been in the hospital with pneumonia for three weeks in December and was readmitted a week ago after a woman found him collapsed on a sidewalk downtown, said homelessness worker Wayne Lucier.

“He’d been a street person for a long time,” Lucier said. “I moved here in the 70s and he was on the streets then.”

On Wednesday Lucier caught up with some of Fingers’ friends sitting on a bench above the Stampede Grounds who were also saddened by his death.

“His roommate Joseph Paul told me Fingers was one of the best guys on the street,” Lucier said.

United Steelworker Union president Paul French said for as long as he can remember Fingers was a well-known face on the streets of Williams Lake.

“When we were kids we were afraid of him, but he was always friendly,” French recalled. “When I grew up I realized he wouldn’t hurt  a flea. He was a guy caught in the system.”

Fingers was staying at the Friendship Society Shelter the week before he went into the hospital and staff there said he had a great sense of humour and was a “smart, smart” man.

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