Nicholas Bloom spent Christmas 2012 eating dinner with family, looking at holiday lights and watching a movie. It was the last Christmas he would see.
Bloom, a Montgomery High School graduate who had fallen on hard times, died Christmas Eve, the victim of a stabbing behind the Central Santa Rosa library. He would have been 23 on Dec. 29th.
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, Bloom was an avid sports fan, according to his aunt, Becky Glass. A talented pitcher and catcher, he played Little League baseball in his Bennett Valley neighborhood and supported the Oakland Athletics and Raiders.
He was a member of the Boys and Girls Club and enjoyed coaching younger kids, Glass said. Bloom had talked about pursuing a career in sports casting or coaching, she said.
"He loved any sport," Glass said. "He was always mentoring others. He had the biggest heart."
After high school, Bloom worked in a number of jobs including in the meat department at Safeway, at Fresh by Lisa Hemenway and as a barback at Flipside Bar and Burger.
Recently, Bloom lived with family and friends, including during last Christmas, which Glass said was one of the happiest memories of the nephew she helped raise.
"He was so happy and content then," she said. "I wish we could have done the same thing this Christmas."
In the past year, Bloom had some personal struggles and got into trouble with the law picking up a couple of misdemeanor convictions including one for theft. Glass said that Bloom was stealing food because he was hungry.
"He was down on his luck," she said. "He was too proud to ask for help. He was always taking care of everyone else but didn't take care of himself."
Police described Bloom as homeless, but Glass said he spent most nights in the past few months sleeping on friends' couches.
"I don't think he spent a night on the street," she said.
On Christmas Eve, police found Bloom's body in an ally off Fourth Street with multiple stab wounds. They arrested Vladimir Sotelo-Urena, a transient, who admitted killing Bloom. He pleaded not guilty to murder last week.
It was the first homicide in central Santa Rosa in 14 months.
Bloom's friends and family say he did not know Sotelo-Urena.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Glass said. "He was mistaken for someone else."
Bloom is survived by his brother, Tyler Bloom, 24, of San Francisco, his mother, Cindy Ray of Redding and his father, Robert Bloom of Santa Rosa.
A funeral service will be held today at 11 a.m. at The Promise Center, 791 Lombardi Ct., Suite 113 in Santa Rosa.