Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Homeless man's funeral paid for by Juanita Vega: Richard Coleman touched lives

See also

A homeless man's funeral was paid for by a women who had bonded over the man over the course of the past 11 years. The story is a touching one that showcases that there are most definitely still good people out there. NBC New York shared the details.

Richard Coleman was a face many on the Upper East Side recognized. Juanita Vega had bonded with Coleman, who tended to sleep outside the bank where she worked. She would converse with him regularly, and others in the neighborhood had nice things to say about “Smokey” or "Richie" as well. Coleman passed away on April 16.

Vega didn't learn until mid-May that Smokey had died, and she soon discovered that his remains were about to be sent to Potter's Field, the public cemetery in the city. Vega's boyfriend, Thomas Valek, shares that the couple went to work to make a proper burial happen for Coleman. Valek works for a funeral home so he was able to have the homeless man's remains released to him. A casket was provided for by the funeral home, and the homeless man's funeral was paid for out of Vega's pocket. The expenses came to about $2,000.

Mr. Coleman was buried in Rosemount Memorial Park after a private and simple service. Today notes that Vega was devastated when she learned that Coleman had died at the age of 62, and she “wanted to show that on the Upper East Side we help out our own.” Many are touched to learn that the homeless man's funeral was paid for by someone impacted by his years of struggle and kindness, and it's certainly a message others can learn from.



  • Israel, Hamas clash in Gaza
    At least 550 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the third week of the war
  • Pro-Russia guards
    President Obama criticizes pro-Russian rebels for blocking off the MH17 crash site
    World News
  • National Guard at Texas border
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry sending National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border
    US News
  • Unlikely Putin defender
    The unlikeliest US politician comes to the defense of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin
  • iPhone 6 coming soon
    Apple is gearing up for the iPhone 6, orders tens of millions of units
  • Gynecologist settlement
    Johns Hopkins agrees to $190M settlement for patients recorded by gynecologist
    Strange News