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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2017 2 years ago

Melanie Paschal led quiet, vivid life

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Paschal, 95, died on June 13.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

On April 12, 1956, 28 people gathered at the home of Guy and Melanie Paschal for a worship service.

The Paschals had called 15 neighbors and invited them, but as word spread, so did attendance.

The Paschals’ home, which was a barn studio on Longboat Key’s Wake Island, now known as Hideaway Bay, became a spot for Sunday morning assemblies of more than 80 people. Thus, an early chapel formed.

Today, the congregation is known as Longboat Island Chapel, but its roots run back to the Paschals.

Melanie Paschal, 95, died June 13.

Melanie was born to Melanie Eustache and Yasaburo Kashima in New York City on May 26, 1922. She lived on the island of Martinique until she was 9 and then returned to New York. In 1949, she married Guy Sherman Paschal, and they moved to Longboat Key.

Despite only living there for nine years, the Paschals left a legacy on Longboat. So much so, that in 1955, when Longboat was incorporated, Guy was named “Honorary Lifetime Mayor.” He died in 198 at age 87.

Together, the two were instrumental in founding the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, the Longboat Island Chapel, the Longboat Key Volunteer Fire Department and the Longboat Look-out newspaper, according to the book “From Calusas to Condominiums: A Pictorial History of Longboat Key,” written by Ralph B. Hunter.

What sticks out to two longtime Longboaters is the Paschals’ home on Wake Island. Although he was only 5 years old at the time, Cannons Marina owner David Miller recalls going to their home for those Sunday services and singing in the choir. Realtor Tim Field said the forest around their home was so dense you could barely see 20 feet in front of you. Though Field doesn’t remember too much about the pair, his father, Herbert Field, was friendly with them and bought their property when they moved.

“They were both very eccentric but great,” he said.

After their nine years of island life, the Paschals moved to Clear Sky Farm in rural Manatee County. It was there that Elsie Horst met Melanie. Horst was the Paschals’ housekeeper for more than 40 years.

Horst describes Paschal as “one to go by the books.” She liked to follow the rules, but Guy liked to bend them. 

Upon arriving at their home one day, Horst asked Guy, a research chemist, what they would be doing. He told her they were going to bottle a mint extract.

“... And Melanie looked at him and said ‘Guy, she hasn’t been cleared by the health department,’ and Guy looked at me [and said] ‘well she looks healthy to me,’ so we bottled.”

Aside from working as her housekeeper, Horst likes to think she was a confidant for Paschal, too.

“She was more reserved, although she shared stories of her growing-up years in Martinique and after she came to the states, but she didn’t elaborate a whole lot of things,” she said.

As quiet as she might have been, Paschal kept herself busy. While living on Longboat, she was active in the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Longboat Fire Department and was president of the Sarasota Civic Ballet, which she built to 225 students before turning it over to the YMCA, “Calusas to Condominiums” says. She and Guy hosted radio talk shows in the 1960s and a television talk show in the 1970s.

Paschal was also a member of the Manasota Track Club, winning trophies and medals from the Senior Olympics.

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