A 64-year-old Middlebury man at the end of Sara Henson’s Mobile Meals route was one of her favorite clients in Akron.

She often lingered to chat with Darnell Wilson at his Second Avenue home and always tried to slip him an extra meal, some meat, vegetables and cookies no one else had claimed.

Henson, who had been on vacation Christmas week, immediately noticed something amiss when she pulled into Wilson’s driveway the day after New Year’s Day: Chairs on the partially enclosed front porch were out of place.

“I was kind of nervous walking onto the porch because I just knew something was wrong,” Henson said.

There, in the icy cold, she found Wilson.

He was on his back, his cane and wheelchair nearby. His slippers were on the other side of the porch.

Henson dialed 911.

“I don’t know whether he’s breathing or not,” Henson calmly told the dispatcher Tuesday, betraying her own panic. “I’m freaking out.”

Wilson was dead. He had frozen to death.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed Wilson’s cause of death was hypothermia. It’s unclear how long Wilson was on the porch, which was partially enclosed, but open to the elements with only screens in the windows and an open doorway.

Wilson lived at the house with a family friend, Henson said, but no one was home when she found him.

A police report didn’t say when Wilson was last seen alive.

Temperatures in Akron have barely climbed out of the teens since Christmas Day, eight days before Wilson’s body was discovered.

One of Wilson’s daughters, who lives in the Cleveland area, told Beacon Journal partner News 5 Cleveland that her father was a loving and outgoing man who had three children and six grandchildren.

“He will be missed,” said Henson, 28, who has worked at Mobile Meals about a year, sometimes delivering food to 60 people per day.

Henson said her Mobile Meals colleagues sometimes find people who have passed away. But they usually die inside their homes, tucked into bed or in a comfortable chair.

Finding Wilson outside haunts Henson.

“I can’t stop thinking about it,” she said Thursday.

“I always looked forward to our visits and I really think he looked forward to seeing me, too.”

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com.