Mike Hood will always be remembered as a man with a kind heart.
The Crofton businessman and philanthropist died Monday morning at the age of 65. He will leave behind a legacy of providing a helping hand and a listening ear to all members of the community.
Hood had been plagued by health concerns in the last several months, suffering from heart attacks last winter and a stroke in July.
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 as a commercial fisherman before starting the cafe.
“Thought it might be fun to give it a try,” he said during the final day of the cafe before ownership transferred to Amelia Breckenridge, who has since renamed it Third Wave Coffee Company. “Met some great people.”
Mike’s Cafe operated for 10 years – eight in its previous location on Joan Avenue and the last two at the corner of Chaplin and Queen Streets before Hood had to step away due to his health issues.
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 on July 1. “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.
Family was still making arrangements to have some sort of service or community gathering in the days ahead. Hood’s mom just turned 90 and lives at Cherry Point.