Dante Ponce

Dante Ponce passed away suddenly in the early morning of May 16th. He was a first rate manager. . . . and of so much more importance to all of us at the River Inn, a first rate friend. Here is a note that our son-in-law, Michael, wrote on his Blog the other day . . . . .
Nancy Sanders and Alan Perlmutter
I met Dante in the summer of 2000 when I was working at my future father-in-law’s restaurant. I was a few weeks away from turning 21 and Juliette’s dad had given me a job waiting tables for the summer, a job I wasn’t really qualified for and which I probably didn’t deserve. Dante was one of the other waiters on the staff and, like me, he mostly worked lunch shifts so I got to spend a lot of time with him that summer. From the moment I met him, he was always friendly and warm toward me, even though I was a pretty terrible waiter. He was patient and kind, and he helped me a lot. Today I was saddened to learn that he died suddenly and unexpectedly this morning–of a heart attack, I’m told.

I can’t help but regret the fact that I didn’t know him better. We worked together for a summer, and in the years since we always took a couple of minutes to catch up whenever I came back to the restaurant for a visit with the family. There was a lot I didn’t know about him. And yet, looking back, there was a lot I did know. I know he was hard-working, and that he cared about his work and took pride in doing it well. Since that summer we worked together he became a manager at the restaurant, and everyone I’ve ever talked to about him has loved him. I know that he was easy-going, quick with a smile, a genuinely nice person. I know that he loved his family. I know he had a bit of playfulness to him–I watched him spin a serving tray on one fingertip, laughing, one afternoon after the lunch rush was over. I know he will be missed, by me and many others.

I wish I could remember clearly the last time I saw him–but then, it wasn’t remarkable at the time, just another visit home, another meal at the family restaurant. It’s not as though this was something any of us saw coming; he wasn’t even that much older than I am. So many of the moments in our lives that turn out to be important go unnoticed. I guess that’s just the way of things.

My heart goes out to Dante’s wife and children. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a father and husband this way, so completely out of the blue. It’s a tragedy, and we are all the worse for his loss.

Goodbye, Dante. I’m glad I had the chance to know you.
Michael Sakasegawa
A fund has been established to help the family at this difficult time and to assure that Dante’s three sons complete their education. If you would like to help please send your contribution to:
Dante Ponce family Fund, P O Box 126, Big Sur, CA 93920

All contributions will be acknowledged.

(River Inn will be hosting a memorial at a later date)

11 thoughts on “Dante Ponce

  1. Tragic to read, this fine young man’s life is worth remembering. I didn’t know him well but The Hawks Perch Gallery was less than a stone’s throw from his stomping grounds. We spoke about traffic, weather, food, local stuff. He had a fine liveliness to him did Dante. He paid attention to everything on his watch. I knew a more formal side than the description above from Michael, and I’m delighted to picture him twirling a big River Inn tray on one finger. A good guy. Big Sur will help his family, and God bless them all.

  2. Es muy triste perder un ser querido, y mas cuando ese ser ha sido maravilloso,,, mi esposo Felipe y mi hijo Cesar lo recuerdan con mucho cariño y como un hombre muy bondados,, esperemos en dios que a la familia le de el consuelo que necesitan en este momento..
    we miss a lot,, Dante was excellent person and we remember with love… Bertha, Felipe Cesar and Brenda..

  3. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Dante but I will surely be putting the family and all of his friends in my prayers. I am very sorry for his loss. Jane

  4. Stern Navigator light-I will ride with you, forever in every view of the Bow-

  5. how could such a heart go, when it’s warm beat never failed to welcome one and all? such answers are not ours. we are left to remember, and count ourselves blessed for having known the soul…….you reside in OUR hearts, now, Dante. juntos, paz y amor para siempre.

  6. Thank yo Kate for your support for Dante’s family. It means alot to me. He was an amazing person, who expressed his love and pride for his family… Much love to you. Andi Elder

  7. He was a amazing person who saw only the good in people. I had the opportunity to see him & his wife Ede Sat. before he took his final journey. This has been a reminder to me how each moment is an opportunity to connect to those who mean a lot to us in life. That we do not know when God has a plan or final journey to experience…..

  8. Condolences to Dante’s family. Sudden loss is horrible; I can recommend a non-profit widow support site I use: just google “widowed village”. There are discussion groups for all types of loss, just for widows. Sometimes it just helps so much to talk to others walking the same path. No judgements. My prayers to the family and his friends.

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