The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 22, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Letter hits home about mutual friend

Sports Editor

Paying another visit to the varsity store...

From the heart

Whenever my inbox lights up, it’s usually never a dull moment.

But when the message comes from a state representative, it does require immediate attention.

John Patterson and I go way back. So far, in fact, he was the manager of the Braves when they beat my Tigers for the major-division championship in the Jefferson Little League in 1975, winning the title by taking a series played at Proctor Field.

The former history teacher at Jefferson, where he also served two seasons as the varsity girls basketball coach (1983-84 and 1984-85), defeated incumbent Casey Kozlowski last November.

Be that as it may, John put his state rep hat away for a bit to write me about a mutual dear friend, Paul Demshar.

With that, the floor is now his...

 Dear Don,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you in response to the tragic death of Paul Demshar. I knew of Paul years ago when he and his family moved to Jefferson. But for the past 30-plus years, we entrusted Paul with our income-tax preparation.

We are all given opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others and Paul Demshar made the most of his time and opportunities in this life.

Most of us dread tax season — but not with Paul Demshar, CPA. We actually looked forward to getting our tax prep done so that we could visit with Paul! He was kind, gracious, and giving — especially of his time — so giving that our appointments usually spilled over into the next time slot.

And that is precisely the point — Paul gave his all — to his God, to his family and to his community.

He died as he lived, in service to others.

In recent years, we also came to know Garrett — Paul’s faithful assistant CPA. Garrett and Paul were inseparable — Garrett even has a desk in Paul’s office — how many of us would be that fortunate to partner with our grandchildren?

It was only fitting that Paul gave his life to save Garrett. Paul never hesitated — he gave one final time in this life. And even though they are physically separated now, spiritually, Garrett and Paul are bound together for eternity — just the way Paul would want it to be.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the entire Demshar family. But we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for sharing Paul with us for 62 years.

We have all been made better for the presence of his life in ours. May you be comforted by God’s love and compassion as well as the love and support of our community.

In sympathy,

John and Nancy Patterson

Very well said, sir. Ever think of doing some public speaking?

In all seriousness, though, thank you for your straight-from-the-heart sentiments, John, about our friend.

We are all lesser for having lost, Paul, but knowing he has moved on to a greater good is what we will have to lean on to get through these difficult times.

And while his death is both heroic and tragic, it is not how he died that we should remember.

It’s how he lived, every day, and most importantly, how he walked through this life, with his trademark sparkle in his eye and skip in his giddyup.

Paul Demshar was a friend to everyone.

Add one

The list of Ashtabula County finishers from the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday that we ran in our Tuesday edition omitted a name.

Jennifer Oxley completed the half marathon.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at