Somber notes turned to celebration Thursday night as hundreds remembered the late York County School Board Member Page Minter at Grafton High School.
Minter, who served on the school board for more than 20 years, died last week after suffering from a heart attack at 69.
“Page was the conscience of the board, always there to bring us back to what was moral and correct,” School Board Vice Chairwoman Barbara Haywood said.
Haywood said Minter always quietly listened to all sides of every issue, asking the important questions before speaking on the topic, which was often paired with his charming wit.
Many were drawn to the same words when describing Minter, including kind, caring and compassionate.
“I think with Page I always saw a gentleness and kindness like no other,” School Board Chairman Dr. Robert George said.
Minter’s eldest daughter, Whitney Cataldo, called on one of her father’s favorite sayings to describe the love and support her family has seen in the past week and exclaimed, “Holy bejesus!”
“My dad was a simple and humble man,” she said. “Everything he did was always selfless and from the heart.”
Cataldo shared stories from her family’s 10 years in Birmingham, Alabama, before they returned to Virginia, her father’s home state, as well as stories from a number of family trips, including those to Disney World and the Outer Banks.
Their most recent family trip came days before Minter’s death at the bargain retail store Big Lots, which was a hobby for Minter and his wife Katherine of 44 years.
“I think someone had a funny sense of humor, but I can’t help but think about that Saturday and kind of laugh at that,” Cataldo said.
Cataldo said her father was always selfless, even apologizing to his family for inconveniencing them with a trip to the hospital before he died.
“To say that shows the truly selfless person he is,” she said.
Minter’s youngest daughter, Marla Wilson, said he made everyone feel what they were doing made a difference and showed appreciation for the little things that made someone who they are.
“If it’s one thing Page Minter taught us, it’s ordinary people can do extraordinary things,” said Steven Staples, superintendent of public instruction for the state of Virginia and former York County superintendent.
Minter was first elected to his District 4 seat in 1995 and recently elected to a sixth term in November.
In addition to his role on the York County School Board, he served on the New Horizons Regional Education Center Board of Trustees for 18 years, including 16 years as chairman.
This past year, he was inducted into the Virginia Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and service.
Minter first came to the Peninsula in 1967 to work at the Newport News Shipyard but left 10 years later to take a job in Alabama. He and his family returned to the Shipyard in 1987 and moved to Dare, choosing to settle in York County because of the schools.
He is survived by his wife, his two daughters and their husbands, and two granddaughters.