Losing a son and a friend of our community can be redeemed through hot dogs, donuts and lots of love
STEVE REID Editor & Publisher email@example.com
It was devastating to hear the news when Scott Pastor died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was the same age as I am, 48, and while we all try to be selfless and express our sorrows to those most directly affected — the family — it is all too human to suddenly become keenly aware of one’s own mortality.
How we are revealed…
Last week we published in the paper an obituary on Scott. Like most obituaries it documented a life — like a final resume emailed into the world. Yet it failed to capture the spirit and soul and sense of Scott Pastor.
I am no authority on Scott, but one thing I have learned is people reveal themselves through small simple actions and gestures.
It is clear that Scott made his impression on me and my family and countless friends in the community through an endless string of just that — kind and loving gestures, softly spoken words, a quick smile, pats on the back and even the frequent affectionate hug.
Dealing with daughters
Scott was more than just a nice guy. Those who know his father, Irwin, and his mother, Sylvia, know the very same streak — like a branch of a river, flows through the family. To put it quite plainly, the Pastors — every one I have met — are simply some of the kindest and warmest people I have known.
Let me give a couple of the small details that I spoke of above.
When Scott opened the Sarasota Yogurt Company on St. Armands Circle, he was ambitious enough to hire not one, but two of my daughters.
My daughters are beautiful. My daughters are smart. But the tricky part is they can be troublemakers and I have been told that trait comes from my gene pool. And while they were good workers, they were teenagers. They would call in sick, occasionally be late, have little dramas and on and on. Scott helped shape them into great employees. Scott talked to them respectfully and taught them how to be productive, have fun and keep the highest standards. They went from being afraid of the boss to respecting and enjoying working for Scott.
The gift of being present
Scott had that ability to make whomever he was talking to feel that they were the only person that mattered — even if for a few moments. And while that sounds simple, most people with their racing thoughts, endless anxieties or salesman-like agendas are never present completely in the moment.
Scott was present. He gave his whole attention. I can only imagine that was true when he was home with his wife and when he engaged with his lovely children. It always made me feel as if our short conversations and interactions mattered. That is rare.
At the time he owned the Yogurt Company, his father, Irwin, decided to run for the Longboat Key Commission. I encouraged and urged Irwin to run. Not because I love backroom politicking, but because the Commission in my view was in need of the Pastor traits of even-handedness, fairness and a priority of residents over development and tourism and commercialization.
Scott was so supportive of his father and vice-versa. He would run over when I brought papers to be distributed and we would discuss the election tealeaves. Scott was always looking for things he could do to help his father’s chances of success. The beauty of the Pastor family is they all continually live this way. Irwin was always tirelessly helping Scott at the restaurant and talking him up the exact way Scott would support and find every way to help his father. Just as Scott was completely present in even the shortest conversation, his father and his mother were always ever-present in their son’s life.
When Scott opened Webber’s Grill, they were all there — his wife Keely, the kids and Irwin and Sylvia. In a world of fractured families and disjointed communities the Pastor family offers an intoxicating spirit of love and connectedness.
From loss to gain…
This past week, that community was manifest in Temple Sinai at Scott’s memorial service.
There is an innate sadness and dread that arises from the very idea of heading to a memorial service. I almost wanted to preserve Scott the way I remembered him and was afraid the ceremony would somehow be too formal or detract from that very warm and generous face that I knew in Scott.
I was wrong. The Temple was full of not only Longboaters, but friends and family who sat and listened to the most inspiring service imaginable. It was as if Scott was alive and his spirit was swooning in the Temple.
The words used to describe Scott and his life went beyond simply poetic and profound. The words transformed what on one hand is nothing short of the most painful event humans must endure — the loss of a friend, a loved one and especially a child. The words took all that pain and loss and reconciled it with the fact that Scott shared with us a love and warmth and short life that ran like an ocean current through his family and through him and through everyone who got to know him.
I thank his parents, and God and Scott and all the machinations and permutations of life for bringing him to us for a few brief, yet everlasting moments.
Scott, Sylvia and Irwin Pastor the night Irwin was sworn in after winning the Commission election.
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