Mike Hood, commonly known as Mitch to most people, will always be remembered as a man with a kind heart.
Compassion and empathy were two typical traits used to describe the Crofton businessman, who died last Monday morning at the age of 66. He will leave behind a legacy of providing a helping hand and a listening ear to all members of the community.
“He was always watching out for kids who needed a hand and giving people a step up if they needed it,” said big sister Cathy Yeomans.
Hood had been plagued by health concerns in the last year, particularly, but never received a firm diagnosis of anything specific. That was one of the main reasons he sold Mike’s Cafe July 1 to Amelia Breckenridge, who has since renamed it Third Wave Coffee Company, after some seven years in the business at two Joan Avenue locations and the last one on the corner of Chaplin and Queen Streets.
Despite that, “he seemed to be recuperating and got better,” said Brittney Vaux, who worked as his manager at Mike’s Cafe. “It is kind of a shock.
“I worked for him for about five years,” she added. “He had known me since I was a baby. When I started working for him, that’s when we connected. I’m trying to learn how to deal with it.”
Hood grew up in Crofton and spent most of his life in the community as a commercial fisherman before starting the cafe, but also worked away for several years in a variety of capacities from a lighthouse keeper to lumber and pulp mills.
“He loved the ocean,” noted Yeomans, “and he had lots of different things going on.”
“Thought it might be fun to give it a try,” Hood said during the final day of the cafe before ownership transferred to Breckenridge. “Met some great people.”
Many people made stopping in at Mike’s Cafe a part of their regular routine.
“Everybody was saying he was the kindest man,” said Vaux. “He had the biggest heart in the world. You got to know him and he was the kindest person.”
Vaux was one of four employees at the cafe plus one lady for clean-up.
“This is awesome,” Hood said upon reflection when Mike’s transferred ownership. “I have a great crew. They all work really well together.”
Hood would open the cafe on Christmas Day for people who didn’t necessarily have anywhere to go and no family nearby, celebrating with some breakfast for them and good cheer.
“He kind of had the doors open for anybody who wanted to talk to him,” added Vaux. “People kind of flocked to him to talk.”
Vaux lived in Hood’s house on Queen Street while he lived in his R.V. at the Osborne Bay R.V. Park. She’s going to miss him more than words can say, calling him a “most compassionate” person and a good friend besides a boss.
Hood’s mom just turned 90 and lives at Cherry Point. Besides his sister Cathy, he’s also survived by four children, four grandchildren and plenty of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
A celebration of Hood’s life will take place Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Crofton Community Centre, 8104 Musgrave St.