By Elodie Adams
The Bent Mast, in the heart of James Bay, began the year with the sad loss of its publican, Jerry Seto, who died suddenly of an aneurysm December 30, 2010. Only 59 years of age, his death came as a shock to his parents, family, friends and the many patrons who frequented the local business.
On entering the Bent Mast, one item stands out from the traditional, pub-like decor, yet could go unnoticed unless you let your gaze wander up the stairwell. A large, old Chinese lantern hangs down from the ceiling, bearing witness to Seto's Asian origins. Having obtained his PhD in philosophy in Boise, Idaho, Seto loved to philosophize over a pint of beer. For fifteen years, he breathed life into the business he started with long-time sailing pal, Kate Thomson, with whom he used to race sailboats on Lake Ontario in the 80s. According to Thomson, Seto also loved to drive his car in the manner he raced sailboats, with "reckless abandon."
In contrast, he loved the solitude and silence of a walk on the beach. He looked for and collected rocks with jade in them, and was a great believer in homeopathic medicine.
Jerry believed in giving back to the community. Helen Tuele of the James Bay Community Project remembers his ongoing and generous support of the Project's annual spring silent auction fundraiser.
Judging from the comments entered in the restaurant's guest book, established after his death, Seto was "an amiable and generous host" whom everyone will miss. But, as friend and business partner Thomson says, "if you wanted to see the best side of Jerry, you never talked to him while he was eating!"