Leon Smith of Gulfport often could be seen walking down the street with one of his nieces or nephews on his shoulders.
"All of his relatives liked him. He was kind and he helped all of us with our kids," said Odessa Brumfield, Smith's sister.
Smith worked odd jobs helping neighbors, but chronic illness kept the 52-year-old from holding a steady job.
"He would do odd jobs, but he never really charged anybody any set amount of money," Brumfield said. "They just gave him what they wanted him to have."
Brumfield said Smith stood 6 feet, 2 inches, weighed about 190 and had a quiet demeanor. He never married, nor had children.
She said he stayed in Gulfport at his sister Ella Mae Anderson's home on Silver Ridge Avenue, which had only roof damage. She said no autopsy was performed, so his death remains shrouded in mystery.
"I know he was very scared. He was just scared to death," Brumfield said. "Just the wind and the horrible rain and the sounds must have been scary."