ALAMEDA — Even if Larry Trippy was not behind the counter of the wooden hut on Park Street where he sold newspapers each day, you knew he was somewhere nearby.
Instead of locking the hut when he ran an errand, Trippy would keep its window open so that customers could pick up a newspaper and leave their money on the counter.
Not only did Trippy trust that people would pay for their newspapers, he trusted passers-by would not steal the coins and bills others left behind.
"Taking care of people, that was his hobby," said Yolanda Schamoni, owner of the Sheer Delight & More on Park Street. "He would do anything for anybody."
Trippy died Tuesday from a heart attack. He was 60.
In the hours after Trippy's death, his friends turned Paul's Newsstand, where he worked for the past four years, into a makeshift memorial for the Vietnam veteran. There were candles and handwritten notes.
Its window, however, was locked.
Just about everyone who frequents Park Street knew Trippy. And those who did not know his name knew his face, and the smile he offered to people as they waited to cross the intersection of Park Street and Santa Clara Avenue.
"He was the true 'Prince of Park Street,'" said Rob Ratto of the Park Street Business Association. "He had a nice word for everyone. When I heard the news about his death, I was devastated."
On the portable television that Trippy kept inside the hut — which is just big enough inside for Trippy to sit down — he would watch western movies.
"Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the television show 'Bonanza,' he loved them all," said Steven Wilde, Trippy's best friend and roommate. "We both loved westerns and we would watch them all the time together."
The hut where Trippy worked is a Park Street landmark.
It was built in 1934 and named after Paul Manning, who like Trippy sold newspapers on the corner. Manning was wheelchair-bound due to polio.
Among his customers was John Mulvany, who worked across the street at Bank of America.
Mulvany donated the materials to construct the hut so that Manning would no longer have to brave the elements.
Joyce Holsman, who works at the Churchward pub on Park Street, said Trippy shared that same kind of concern for his friends.
"He was always helping people," Holsman said. "He would come into the businesses around here and ask, "Can I get you some coffee?' 'Do you need anything?"
Trippy would also often join Schamoni as she walked her 2-1/2-year-old son, Camren, on Park Street.
"He was really proud of him," Holsman said. "You would swear Camren was his own son."
Trippy served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. Before he began working at the newsstand, he worked at AMF Southshore Lanes on Park Street. He was originally from Ripley, NY.
Among his survivors are two sisters.
"I still cannot believe he's gone," Ratto said. "The corner will not be the same without him."
Friends of Larry Trippy will host a memorial from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Churchward pub, 1515 Park St. For information, call 510-521-4800.