Page 17 - December2018
P. 17

Lessons From My Mother:
How We Live Our Lives And The In uence We Exert On Others When We Are Gone ... No One Need Be An Orphan
When my father, Michael Prevor, a longtime produce industry executive, passed away, we published my eulogy on When my mother, Roslyn Prevor, passed, we made an announcement there as well.
Now that my mother has passed, I wanted to share the eulogy I wrote for her. This time, I also wanted to share the eulogy given by Ken Whitacre, my college fraternity brother and the man with whom I started Produce Business magazine over 33 years ago.
My son, the Jr. Pundit Primo, a.k.a. William, also shared some thoughts about his grandmother, and I thought I would share that, as well.
There are so many people to thank. Despite scaling back my travel substantially to be there for my mother, I was not with her when she died. I made a mad dash back from Amsterdam when my mother had another stroke, but I could not get back in time.
In my eulogy, I thanked my wife for being there with her, and my sister-in-law’s sister Deborah Sponder was there as well, so I am grateful to them as she did not have to die alone.
But it has been a long journey with illness, and many people have served. My sister-in-law, Abbe Prevor, has been so kind to my mother over the years. My mother’s two dear friends Corky Paston and Elaine Baker — who is what we call a Machatonim in Jewish — have worked for years to keep my mother engaged and motivated.
Although she did help out my father in the of ce at certain interludes, my mother was not in the produce business. Yet, she was as integral to my father’s success, and to mine, as anyone on earth. We’ve received hundreds of notes and emails from people who had met her at trade shows, pointing out how  ercely she supported my father and, in time, me, in all our ventures. There are few things that can give a child more freedom to succeed than knowing his parents believe he will succeed.
I think there is a terrible tendency to believe one’s eyes always speak the truth. When, in fact, life is more like an iceberg, with 90 percent under water and thus invisible. My mother’s contribution to our family’s produce business and, in time, Produce Business, the Perishable Pundit, The New York Produce Show, The London Produce Show, Deli Business and all our related adventures is like this. It is obscured, but it is foundational.
Such is the power of pure love. I only hope she knew it was reciprocated by me and many.
Eulogy written and delivered by Ken Whitacre
The  rst time I met Mrs. Prevor ...
I was 18 years old and had just moved to Ithaca, NY, all the way from Kentucky, where this relatively poor hick miraculously made it to the Ivy League. It was my  rst year at Cornell, and Jim and I became friends when we joined the same fraternity. It was Spring Break, and I had no money to go home to Kentucky. Jim must have felt pity on me and invited me to his house on Long Island.
The  rst thing I noticed about Mrs. Prevor was that she was genuinely interested in me. She was non-judgmental about this goofy kid from Kentucky who spoke in a Southern accent and said words like Git-tar instead of guitar, Inn-surance instead of insurance, Cee-ment instead of cement.
I grew up in an environment where I had never met a Jewish person until I went to Cornell. I had never eaten a bagel and certainly never heard of lox.
She made me feel comfortable and showed me a little about what Jewish families do together and the rituals that bind them. It was a Sunday when I discovered the Prevor family ritual of Jim’s father, Mike, driving to the neighborhood deli to pick up the Sunday papers and brunch. That morning, I discovered the taste of my  rst bagel and nova. There was white sh with cream cheese, capers, a thin slice of raw onion and tomato.
It was later that evening when I discovered another “Jewish” tradition. It was there I learned what a pu pu platter is at my  rst Chinese restaurant.
I felt very welcome in this new environment, and it was because of the kindness of Mrs. Prevor.
That same night, I observed Mrs. Prevor take command at the restaurant. It was as if she had radar turned on for everyone to be taken care of at the table. When the waiter was slow in getting to the table, she got up to  nd him or her. She seemed to always be mindful of everyone else’s needs, and especially Mr. Prevor’s.
When it came to Mr. Prevor, she was always taking care of him —  xing his hair or straightening his eyebrows, reaching over to slow him down from eating too fast, gently touching his hand, keeping him from eating that third bread roll. In the car, she was always keeping Mike from driving too fast — her left arm acting as another seat belt for Mike and her right arm on the dashboard every time Mike accelerated or hit the brakes ... gently reminding him to ease up on his lead foot.

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