A follow-up column, about a good neighbor. The best of neighbors, actually.
Police Capt. Ed Nestor, who with his wife, Cathy, lived in our quiet Crestwood corner, three doors up. His jurisdiction was Chesterfield, but I remember thinking when we moved in some 27 years ago it was great to have a police officer in the neighborhood.
We also knew him as the dad whose kids babysat for our boys; as the tenor in the St. Justin Martyr choir; as the school parent who served on the parish school board; as the guy who would smile and wave every morning to whomever drove past him as he was leaving for work in his uniform.
That was just a fraction of Ed Nestor, the guy who made all his neighbors feel as if all was right with the world.
Last September, I wrote about Ed and his battle with pancreatic cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., an awful disease with a 9-percent survival rate. Nine months in, Ed was stoic and upbeat, refusing self-pity or “why me?”
“I have no idea why I’m going through this,” he said at the time. “I don’t believe I’m being punished by God. They don’t even know what causes this type of cancer, so I don’t blame anything or anyone. All I can worry about is today.”
His courage was inspiring; it was just Ed being Ed.
Shortly after midnight on Jan. 30, right about the time a Polar Vortex was bringing to our region the coldest temperatures of a generation, Ed Nestor took leave of this earth. End of watch, as they say in police circles.
Sometimes the world stops turning, just for a while, and then it starts up again.
It started up again last Saturday at DeSmet High School, Ed’s alma mater. If you ever want to be inspired, attend the funeral of a man who gets close to 1,000 people to show up. Turns out, the guy who made our neighborhood a better place truly made the world a better place.
His son, Tom, got up to say a few words. Here’s a snippet — the best of a son sharing the best of his father:
“My dad never had to sit me down and tell me that people of a different race, color, appearance, sexual orientation, etc., were not to be judged,” Tom said. “It never came up, because it wasn’t something he thought about. He showed me with his actions. He showed me by example to respect everyone, and to look past shallowness, insecurities, stereotypes, and actually look at people as their own individual person, each of them a gift from God.
“The one thing that meant most to him was connecting with people.”