WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Family and friends in Winston-Salem are remembering the life of Arthur “Bill” Bloxham.
On Monday, police found Bloxham’s body in the bathroom at the Hardee’s restaurant on First Street in Winston-Salem.
Bloxham was the homeless man who was reportedly beaten by a group of teenagers while he was sleeping under a bridge in January.
On Tuesday, Bloxham’s family issued the following statement about his death:
We can't begin to describe what we are feeling with the loss of Bill, but had rather not be on camera. As hard as it is for us, we feel it is just as hard for the community, who came to his aid when he needed them the most. Bill was a very private person. He was humble and gentle. He was happiest and even thrived while living on the streets of this community that loved him so much. This is not just a loss for our family, but a loss for our community and we thank everyone for their love, prayers, and support. Thank you, The Bloxham Family.
Bloxham lived on the streets but he definitely had a home in the Winston-Salem community.
He was a regular at the Reynolda Manor branch of the Forsyth County Public Library.
“We are just so surprised and upset and devastated that Bill is gone,” said branch manager Jenny Boneno.
The attack Bloxham suffered in January left him with a brain injury, memory loss, and partial blindness.
He spent months recovering in the hospital.
But Boneno says he appeared to be doing much better in recent weeks.
“He was in great spirits and was very chatty and in a great mood,” said Boneno. “He seemed to be doing really well. We had seen a steady improvement over the last few months.”
Bloxham graduated from the UNC School of the Arts in 1980 and was an avid reader.
Boneno says on most days, you could find Bloxham reading the newspaper or a book in his favorite chair.
“He read the paper every day. He was up to date on everything in the news and all the issues, he stayed on top of that,” said Boneno. “In addition, he checked out books on math and science and art and everything you can think of.”
Library staff wants to keep Bloxham's memory alive.
One of their ideas is to dedicate a bench outside the library in his honor.
“You can find friends in the most unexpected places,” said Boneno. “He was a great friend to us. We cared greatly about him.”
Police say there were no signs of foul play when they found Bloxham's body.
Tremayne Butler and Treshawn Plater both pleaded guilty to assault and other charges and are currently facing jail time.
A case against Decorus Roundtree is still pending.
The other two teenagers will be tried in juvenile court since they are both under the age of 16.
An autopsy has revealed Bloxham died of natural causes.