William "Crash" Courtney

  • Wednesday September 14, 2016
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August 18, 1946 �" September 8, 2016

Born in Boston, William Courtney came to San Francisco as a young man. He was a taxi driver for many years, infamously earning him the name "Crash."

Crash was an enigma; no one really knew him. Indeed, not many knew his real name. He seemed to dislike people �" yet he craved company. He hated religion (once calling Christianity a "Nazarene Death Cult") �" yet he drifted toward the good Reverends: Father Chuck, Father Don, and Father Lyle of the San Francisco Night Ministry. He seemed dull and slow and distant but we, his friends, knew that he had the capacity to be sharp and witty when he wanted.

Not much is memorable about Crash except to say that he instilled in us a sense of caring and has shed a light on the conditions that exist for those who are poor, alone, and have no advocate.

His home was disheveled, dark, and dirty, yet one small part was immaculate �" a shelf that displayed: his favorite books, a very old taxi driver's hat, and a polished coconut that a friend had mailed to him long ago.