From Rex Holbein at Facing Homelessness, October 7, 2015:
Yesterday a very VERY beautiful friend to many in this community quietly passed away, his name is Selvin Iscoa. Sharing these words will bring a flow of tears to many friends.
For anyone who has spent time in the Fremont neighborhood, you would know the beating drum sound of Selvin, you would know the deep and infectious laughter of Selvin, you would feel the LOVE of this beautiful man because he shared it so very VERY easily.
Selvin moved up from El Salvador 24 years ago, he was just 50 when he passed away at the Nyer Urness House, where he had received housing May of 2013, housing finally after 10 years living homeless on the streets.
When I first met Selvin, he was playing his African drum outside of the laundromat in Fremont, next to Cafe Ladro, when he saw me walking towards him, he stopped, stood up, stretched out his arms wide, and yelled to me, “Welcome to my Living Room!”
Like with many of Selvin’s friends, we became instant buddies, every time we visited he would yell out in his deep beautiful voice, “Hey bu-ahhh-deeee, I luh-aaa-vvvvvv you!” It would make my whole body smile deeply.
Selvin lived to drum, you could see all of his face light up when he played, he told me once he remembers fondly when he was about six years old, living in El Salvador, his mom looking down from an upper window into the courtyard, smiling at him while he beat on an upside down metal bucket with two drum sticks he had made from tree branches, always sharing his drumming, sharing his joy.
I spoke with Adrienne Rice, Selivn’s case-manager at the Nyer Urness House, she said they are all deeply sad, saying, “Selvin was the brightest star in our building, his smile was pure joy and pure love, he will be remembered by all who were graced by his presence.” She will let us all know when the memorial will be.
Selvin my dear friend, thank you for always making me feel so welcome in your world, your bright beautiful light always filled those in your life with happiness. May you Rest in Peace.
Photo at left of Selvin Iscoa at around age 22; courtesy of Joseph Mutti.
Up top photo courtesy of Rex Hohlbein.
Selvin’s Leaf is placed at Ballard Commons Park. If you have photos or memories of Selvin, please post a comment.