ON the mostly tough and often lonely streets of Newcastle, Kevin Coady remained personable.
Despite battling his own inner demons, the 51-year-old was widely seen as a fatherly figure and protector to those who were even less fortunate than him.
Just two months ago, he stood defiantly atop the worn steps of the dilapidated former Newcastle post office and told its owners that he, and the rest of the homeless who were using it as shelter, were not going anywhere.
His stance worked and a core group of otherwise homeless squatters were kept out of the weather by calling the building’s verandah home.
Sadly, Mr Coady was found dead atop those same steps on October 12.
His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Police believe he may have succumbed to an accidental overdose because of the paraphernalia found around him, although those that knew him say they were not aware he took illicit drugs.
Alcohol was more his vice, his bad habit of choice.
A service was held at the Soul Cafe in Newcastle on Tuesday, a place where Mr Coady was well known, respected and loved.
Mourners told stories of Mr Coady’s presence on what could be mean streets around inner-city Newcastle.
There was laughter and tears.
“For those of us who saw Kev most days he had become part of our family,’’ cafe chaplain Matt Nichols said.
“He was very much a father figure to many.
“He was generous, protective and a typical Aussie larrikin.
“He was willing to fight for what he believed in, and was willing to stand up for his mates. Those are two fantastic traits to have.’’
Mr Nichols said he remembered the day a few months ago when Mr Coady walked into the Soul Cafe and asked to use the phone to call media about the impending eviction of squatters at the post office.
‘’And although he was happy to be that father figure and protector on the streets, he did hold hope he could move his 51-year-old body away from sleeping on concrete,’’ he said.
“He will be missed, he will be a big loss on the streets.’’