I had planned this week’s column around joyous events like the super Gay Pride parade watched from the comfort of Seasons P.V. patio with Susan and David after a fabulous Restaurant Week dinner. And the great block party that followed. Instead, I want/have to write about Michel Pascal Ferrari.
Everybody who knew Michel, however briefly, was touched somehow. He often pissed people off; it was just his way of speaking; rarely nasty but he would never suffer fools gladly. Ever. I enjoyed his slightly acerbic wit and that he found humour everywhere. If you have photos of him, he is almost always smiling or laughing. Maybe at you.
I had known of Michel for about a decade; for a normal statured person, he took up a lot of space. He wanted everything in his life to be RIGHT. In everybody’s life. He helped the Amapas Homeowners Association so the streets where he lived would be safe and well lit. He made and sold pasta at the Old Town Farmers Market and helped that become the most successful Market in the City. He helped with Gay Pride at its inception six years ago so that the message came across clearly. He leapt into the November International Gourmet Festival with both feet and became ‘like a son’ to fellow-Swiss Heinz Reize, one of the founders. He loved animals, especially his white dog, Anais and the turtles that came to lay their eggs in front of his Sapphire Ocean Club were always protected. Michel met with City of Vallarta Environmental people and then had events like his beloved David de los Rios’ birthday party, to coincide with a turtle release. He wanted everyone to work together and to be fair and honest in his businesses. Always making a point to be uber-legal because Mexico was his home. He sponsored Perro Bravo’s production of ‘Equus’ at Act II in February 2015 and hosted a pre- and post-production get together for the cast (and me) at Sapphire. He adored the children at Refugio Infantil de Santa Esperanza (R.I.S.E.), often having them at Sapphire to play at the beach and have lunch.
Michel became my client a couple of years ago. He always swore he did not need or want to advertise. I convinced him otherwise, and we had many ‘exchanges’ shall we say about wording and spelling and layout in general. Often our afternoon meetings lasted until dark and his invitation to stay for dinner – while he cooked and poured wine – were always accepted while we continued to work on the latest ad. One time a paper flew off the table at Sapphire, I picked it up to find a mock-up of a menu. I offered to ‘fix the English’ before it went to print. He stammered, took a deep
breath, and then mentioned that English was his fourth or fifth language so he would be foolish not to accept my kind offer. But it rankled. I wanted everything that the Tribune published for him to be perfect. He deserved it.
When cancer struck, he went to Europe for treatment and was back and forth frequently. He won. I think it was about a year ago his joyous Facebook message surfaced about his clean bill of health.
Not, however, for long. While Michel’s body remained cancer-free until the end, tumours began appearing in his brain, affecting his eyesight and put him in the hospital here in Vallarta. His parents Marco and Bernadette came from Switzerland as did Michel’s sister. His best friend and business partner of 23 years, Raymund, arrived a week later.
Michel passed away in his sleep at 5 am, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. His beloved David was with him, holding his hand as he had done all through the many nights in the hospital. “It was beautiful,” he told me.
Hold on tight to each other. From Here.