Jim Crockett, the longtime director of Bean's Cafe, has died, according to representatives of the Anchorage soup kitchen.
Crockett, 63, lost a short battle with pneumonia early Thursday morning, said Leslie Ellis, chairwoman of the board that oversees Bean's. Crockett was one of the soup kitchen's original board members when it started feeding needy Anchorage residents in 1979 and had served as its executive director for more than 10 years, Ellis said.
Crockett's accounting background and concern for the less fortunate kept him focused every day on Bean's mission to help the homeless, the hungry and "people just down on their luck," Ellis said.
"This is a tremendous loss to the community. On a personal and professional level, we lost a wonderful friend," Ellis said. "He had the right mix of heart and compassion but he was also a financial manager, which is unique. He was proud to serve in the nonprofit world. He got it."
The cafe serves more than 800 meals a day and, in recent years, has served as an overflow sleeping area for homeless people crowding Brother Francis Shelter next door. As many as 120 people per night have sought shelter at Bean's during the recent cold winter weather, Ellis said.
Crockett left behind a son, daughter and grandchildren, Ellis said. Despite losing its leader and public face, Bean's was operating as usual Thursday, she said.
"For Jim, that would be the most important thing that could happen," Ellis said.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE