The family of a 75-year-old man whose decapitated body was found in an Inglewood apartment last week described him as a “kind and generous spirit.”
The headless body of Robert Hollis, who was legally blind, was found about 12:45 p.m. Thursday, when officers went to a residence in the 800 block of Glenway Drive to assist county firefighters dispatched to check on a senior citizen’s well being, according to a statement from the Inglewood Police Department (IPD).
“Entry was made and IPD homicide investigators were later sent to the scene to conduct an investigation,’’ the statement said.
Family members were perplexed over who would have wanted to harm Hollis and have said that nothing appeared to have been stolen from the apartment.
“The family is shocked and bewildered about the senseless act of violence that took the life of our beloved Robert Hollis,’’ the statement said.
“He was a kind and generous spirit who was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Robert lived his life as a sign artist and gospel singer. His voice touched many and his spirit motivated more. His voice and spirit will be deeply missed. We are moved by the outpouring of love and prayers from so many. May God bless us all.’’
The coroner’s office confirmed Hollis was decapitated. His head remains missing, according to news reports.
A vigil for Hollis was held Monday at 7 p.m. at Faithful Central Bible Church at 400 W. Florence Ave. in Inglewood.
In the culture of customizing cars in Southern California, you have legends like George Barris (Batmobile and the Monkey mobile), and Big Daddy Roth, customizer of Hot Rods. But there are names in that subculture that remain anonymous, these lesser knowns are the innovators of Cali low-riding.
There was John Johnson during the late 1970s, famous for his innovative hydraulic Chevrolet Impalas. In the mid-60s, Herman and Pancho, the creators of candy and metal-flake paint jobs, had a shop located on 73rd and Central Ave; and 8th Ave. Al was famous for pre-fabbing low riders.
“Robert ‘Mr. Bojangles’ Hollis” specialized in pinstriping graphics, and gold leafing cars. His name was iconic in the 70’s and his work included, but was not limited to: classic Chevrolets, custom Vans, Kawasaki 900 and 1000 motorcycles—the bikes popular with African Americans during that era.
His work was proudly displayed by motorcycle riders at Johnnie’s Pastrami on Adams Blvd. During New Years Eve, hundreds of lowriders would flaunt his graphics at Brookside Park in Pasadena. His clients were a mix of businessmen having graphics put on gray market Maseratis accompanied by his signature on the cars’ quarter panel; gang members customizing 4.0 Mustangs, the “OG’s” keeping it real in their Impalas; and drug dealers gold leafing Monte Carlo’s and El Camino’s.
Visiting his shop was an adventure but he controlled the crowd with his cantankerous and loveable personality.
(Members of the Grayboys and Ghetto Boys car clubs were interviewed for this article.)