Fort Worth

Fort Worth remembers downtown’s beloved greeter

Celebrating Charlie Joyner

The unofficial downtown Fort Worth greeter was celebrated at a memorial service on Thursday. (Video by Joyce Marshall, Star-Telegram.com)
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The unofficial downtown Fort Worth greeter was celebrated at a memorial service on Thursday. (Video by Joyce Marshall, Star-Telegram.com)

About 400 people — from the very rich to the very poor, white people and black people, adults and children alike — all came together Thursday to remember Fort Worth’s most well-known greeter one last time.

The memorial service for Charlie Joyner, who was in a wheelchair and spent two decades greeting people daily at the corner of Third and Houston streets, lasted over an hour at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel, as people shared stories about Joyner’s smile and his legacy of friendship.

Joyner never worried and firmly believed that God would take care of him. He made everyone his friend. He smiled at passers-by. He never begged, but many gave him money and food. He always had a kind word.

Joyner, 64, died May 2, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Joyner, who stayed at the Presbyterian Night Shelter, told people he was not homeless, he was houseless. His home was in Heaven, he often said.

Sundance Square paid for the funeral.

“He was always just in a really happy mood and sometimes when I went by, I was not in a happy mood,” remembered Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square, at the service. “I was on my way, on a mission to do something or coming from something and maybe things were kind of caving in, but you never put your hand and talked to Charlie that it didn’t kind of reset your mind.”

“You had this moment where you said, ‘I can get happy.’”

The audience was as diverse as the people who walked past Joyner’s chair each day — from Fort Worth financier Ed Bass and to other “houseless” people Joyner had met at the shelter or in downtown. His daughter was also in attendance.

— Caty Hirst

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