James "Randy" Slusher was identified by a friend and a relative as the man killed Nov. 21 when he was struck by a bus.
Bus victim’s caring touched others
A friend and a relative identify the deceased as James Slusher, a native of Tennessee
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A cardboard sign with the name "Randy" and a lei served as a memorial to a man who did not have family or many friends in Hawaii yet left a lasting impression on the few who knew him.
James Randal "Randy" Slusher died Nov. 21 after being struck by a bus on North King Street. The city Medical Examiner has not yet positively identified him, but a friend and his sister confirmed his identity to the Star-Bulletin.
They describe Slusher, 50, as a caring, artistic and spiritual man who lived a simple life.
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James Randal "Randy" Slusher said "hi" and gave $5 to a homeless man, probably the last person Slusher spoke to the day before Thanksgiving.
Shortly afterward, the 50-year-old Slusher stumbled from the sidewalk on North King Street near Aala Park and fell into the path of an oncoming bus, according to a witness. He died at the hospital from his injuries.
The Medical Examiner's Office is awaiting fingerprints to positively identify Slusher, a native of Bristol, Tenn. But a friend and a relative confirmed to the Star-Bulletin that he was the victim of the downtown accident.
Slusher, living on disability benefits, didn't have much money, lived alone in a tiny apartment on low-rent Akepo Lane, didn't have many friends and had no family here.
But he shared what he had.
For a Kalihi Valley woman, who asked not to be identified, Slusher was a shoulder to cry on, a dear friend who really listened to her problems.
After she unloaded her problems, he would say: "I'm sorry about that. I will pray for you because that's the only thing I can give to you."
"He said, 'If I become rich, I'm going to marry you,'" she said. "He's a good person. That's why God took him. I believe that."
Three months ago, Slusher told her that he was almost hit by a bus. She thinks it was because the medication he was taking for depression made him dizzy. She said he also had undergone surgery recently.
Penny Slusher of Chicago said she and her parents, who live in Tennessee, could not afford to come to Hawaii upon receiving the news of her brother's death.
"But we'll be bringing him home," she said, and added, "Hopefully soon."
She said: "I pretty much adored him the whole time we grew up. I wanted to be like him. He was very, very talented, an incredible artist -- mostly charcoal. He had a wonderful singing voice. He just was a very charming person, very, very friendly."
She recalled how her older brother would entertain her and their younger brother and cousins with his humor, stories and characters.
"He was quite the actor when he was younger," said Penny, who became an actress.
Tony Liang, owner of King Mart just steps from the accident scene, was one of the first to see Slusher after he was struck, but could not identify him because of injuries to his face.
He described Slusher as "more than a nice guy."
Liang and Slusher would discuss Falun Gong, of which Liang is a practitioner.
"James totally agreed with the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance," Liang said. "James is a person who has righteous thought. He has a good destination after death. That's what I believe."
A friend of Penny Slusher who happened to be in Honolulu last week, and was supposed to meet her brother for lunch, put a lei and cardboard marker that reads "Randy" on the traffic light post near the accident scene as a memorial to him.
Slusher moved to Hawaii from Tennessee to follow a woman in a relationship that didn't work out.
The family has spoken with a Baptist minister to hold services for Slusher, who attended church regularly and spoke about wanting to trust God more and to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Fernie Nicolas, pastor of the Bible Baptist Church of Honolulu, located in Waipahu, said Slusher had spoken about his depression, loneliness, his not feeling well and his operation a few months ago.
"You can only imagine when you are alone there are so many problems," Nicolas said. "Last Sunday, we wondered why he didn't come."
The Kalihi Valley woman, who helped Slusher rent the apartment using her pay stubs and name on the lease, cleaned out his apartment Monday.
There she found a photo of herself, and on the back of it, he had written, "A very special friend."