Community raises thousands for homeless New Bedford man’s funeral

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) – Thousands of dollars have been raised for the family of a homeless man from New Bedford who died suddenly last week.

Chris Mydlack, 45, was found dead at Buttonwood Park last week. According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Mydlack’s death was not deemed suspicious and it’s believed he died of an overdose. The official cause of death is still pending, his family said.

Mydlack was well known in the community and was often seen in the area of Route 6.

His daughter, Riley Mydlack, received a phone call last week with the news that her father had died. She said they hadn’t been close in recent years, but her family had tried to help him get his life back on track.

“He just wasn’t ready to start a new life yet,” Riley said. “After his mom died, he kind of went off the deep end a little bit, he was just not really there mentally.”

As his only biological daughter, the responsibility of putting on a proper burial fell to her. As a 19-year-old college student, she couldn’t afford it, she said.

“It really was up to me to figure out where I was gonna get the money.”

Riley’s boyfriend created a GoFundMe and within a week it’s surpassed its goal of $5,000 thanks to donations from the community.

“(It’s) close to $6,000 and then we’ve got more than $1,000 in cash from people that are willing to help,” she said. “When we first started it raised I think the first day $300 and I was like, you know what, at least $300 is better than nothing and then I can just try to come up with the rest of the money. But once it started going up and up I was like, this is amazing. Let’s see how much we can get cause I want to do what’s best for my father.”

She said since her father’s passing, she’s heard stories from the community about him that she hadn’t heard before. She said she wanted to put on services for him so the community could also mourn.

“It’s amazing. I mean, there’s so many people that knew my father that I didn’t. I mean, they told me stories about him being like a crazy good gymnast, almost went to the Olympics. They said they’ve passed him many times, give him food, said hi, went to dinner with him, took him out, even put him in a hotel.”

Services for Mydlack are set for Saturday, September 18 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Perry’s Funeral Home in New Bedford.

“Right now I’m just in the moment where I’m excited that I can do what I need to do and have the services for him. I’m happy that we can say our goodbyes in the right way.”

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Categories: Massachusetts, New Bedford, News, Regional News