I heard just before Shabbos that Edward Paster was no longer with us. I did not know him personally, but those close to me were among those closest to him. And even though I did not know him, I knew of him, and what he meant and still means to our local Jewish community.
The following is a statement issued Saturday night by Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), in response to the passing of Edward Paster, z”l.
Please use the comments to this article to express your thoughts about what this man has meant to you, and/or to send your best wishes to his family and loved ones. I promise to send this to them later this week. Thank you.
From Steve Hunegs:
“President Harry Truman once commented that he slept better knowing that his Secretary of State and former Chief of Staff George Marshall was in the country and not abroad on a diplomatic or military mission.
To me and much of our community leadership, we had the same sense of Ed Paster. It wasn’t so much that he might be outside the United States, but that he was always supportive and at your side when you needed assistance at a critical time. There were few people who “had your back” like Ed. This didn’t mean you were above constructive critique in the eyes of Ed which was always provided with great respect and effectiveness. It also didn’t mean you were above the questions which Ed loved to ask and made you unpack your assumptions for analysis. Ed was a teacher and a life coach among his many distinctions in life.
As a devoted son, husband and father shouldering responsibility for a business as well as many communal endeavors, Ed was a patriarch for many as he juggled so much in his life. As an “Abba” to the community, he conjures up images of an Abba Kovner or an Abba Eban. In another place and time he may have been a poet and partisan with his love of the arts and the Jewish people or a statesman with his love of public speaking and his knack for leadership whether it was developing shopping centers or philanthropic possibilities. To see Ed walk into a room with a smile and hug for everyone was to see a man who loved people and commanded respect. Through it all, Ed would credit Jacki, his family, his employees and his community for his success.
Ed’s love and support found you when it was most needed. Davening Shacharit, he kept a list of people for whom he said MiSheberach every day. Ed’s heart overflowed with love, compassion, respect and generosity for everyone around him. A person or community could not have a better friend than Ed Paster which includes this agency for which he did so much and myself and all of the personal support he provided.
The board and staff of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas deeply mourns the loss of Ed Paster and extends its sympathy to Jacki, Howard and Nicole and the entire extended Paster family. May his memory be for a blessing.”