Sad News to Share – Carl the Cleaner Passed Away
by Brian Coll
Let’s Clean up for Carl to keep his memory alive.
So, we’ve had more people asking us about Carl… Carl is the guy who has cleaned the streets of trash and pulled weeds on local streets. A few months ago we heard he had a medical issue. I wasn’t sure how severe it was at first, I heard a stroke or heart attack and that’s how the grapevine goes sometimes in Conshohocken. Well today we have some sad news, we found out he passed away.
I can’t tell you the first day I saw him going about his business cleaning up in Conshohocken, honestly at first I wondered if he was forced to do a little community service. During one of our early conversations I asked him why he was cleaning up the streets of Conshohocken. He told me that he was watching a news conference with President Bush, and the President of the United States told him to clean up his community, he felt the President was talking directly to him. Telling him to take care of his community and he listened. I would hear him tell that to other people if we were chatting and someone asked. If you knew Carl, he was also very into fitness, he would workout out at the Fellowship House and would give pointers to other people using the equipment, and yes, it would be a little off putting coming from Carl, and that is part of the reason you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. He’d be working out in the same clothes he was wearing while picking up trash on Fayette Street.
Over the years I would stop and chat with him if I was walking, other times I’d be in my truck and would stop by and give him a bottle of water. On occasion I’d see him out and about and see if I could get him a sandwich from somewhere. This past Christmas Eve I was picking up beer as a gift at the Boathouse and Carl was out cleaning like always…. I asked if there was a certain beer he liked, I can’t put this in exact quotes but he said something along the lines of.. I’ve seen a few of those Stella commercials and that looks like a good beer, so I grabbed a six pack and we sat outside for a couple minutes while he enjoyed his last gift from me.
As I sit here and think about what would Carl like us to do… it would be to clean up a little in his honor. I don’t think we need to plan a one time clean up or anything, I think as we are going about our daily lives, if you see a piece of trash or a cup or bottle on the sidewalk, take a minute to throw it away. Carl isn’t doing it for us anymore. It’ll be a small way to keep him in our minds.