Bob Kemerait – Childhood friend

When I met Sameer:     1973

Where Sameer and I spent time:  
Indian Harbour Beach Little League, Cub Scout Pack 386, Boy Scout Troop 376, Throughout School

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

I have not talked to Sameer, Shalin, or Mr. and Mrs. Shah for nearly 30 years; however Sameer and the Shah family will always be a part of that most wonderful time in our lives when we are young, innocent, and hopeful for the future. Like cousins not seen in many years, I have never had any doubt that I could call or visit Sameer, Shalin, and the Shah family and be welcomed with warmth and hospitality. I ask myself now, under such tragic circumstances, why I waited for a such a visit.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. Please write as much as you like.

For the children of Sameer, I can tell you that I knew your father as a boy and as a young man. I wish I could tell you all about him and just how proud you can be of him.

Your father and Shalin were a constant part of my childhood. We all played baseball together in Indian Harbour Beach, we went to Ocean Breeze Elementary School together, and most importantly, we were in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. In fact, your grandfather was one of our leaders in the Cub Scouts. You have a wonderful family, as I am sure you know.

My own father is a man of very few words, and of even fewer compliments, He rarely shares his thoughts. However, one of the earliest compliments I ever heard him pay was to your father and your uncle. At the time, Sameer (known to me then as “Sam”) and Shalin (known to me as “Charlie”) and I were playing in the lowest “farm” league of the baseball program. I wasn’t much good at it and complained bitterly about it fairly regularly that I was ready to give it up. One day my father said to me quietly, “Bobby, do you know who I admire?” “No Daddy, who?” “Bobby, I really admire those Shah boys. Do you know why?” “Nope, I don’t Daddy.” “Bobby, because they get out there on the baseball field at every practice and every game and give it their all. I admire them.” That has been over 35 years ago and I still cannot forget my father’s admiration for your father and your uncle; he has few compliments for anyone.  They did try very hard; while none of us went on to stellar baseball careers, I believe the three of us learned much in those early years.

I remember being in the scouts with your father. When I first moved, at 11 years of age, to the Boy Scouts from the Cub Scouts, your father was already there. I was put in the lowly “Panther Patrol”, I believe your father was in the elite “Raven Patrol” with guys like Neil Kent, Mike Hock, Steve Brunton and later Josh Litwin. Our Panther patrol was straight out of the movie “The Bad News Bears,” your father and his crowd were unbeatable in scout craft and winners at everything they did. Was I jealous? You bet I was as I am sure my patrol buddies Mike Moulder and Mike Clanton were too! But your father always had a kind word for me and was a friend to me. I remember especially that he helped me get my coin collecting badge and I bought my then most precious coin, an uncirculated Roosevelt silver dime from him. I could go on and on about what a special person your father was, but I will stop here.

Let me just conclude that despite the years since I last saw your father, your uncle, your grandfather, or your grandmother, I remember them with the utmost respect and appreciation. Your father was brilliant, everyone knows that, but more importantly, he was a friend, he was good humored (I never saw him angry but always smiling and joking with a razor wit) and he was faithful to his friends. I regret so much that I did not see him recently, I regret more that it is now too late. But I am blessed most with the memories that I have of my time with him and the Shah family during that most special and formative time in our lives- our childhood. I wish both of you the greatest of success and happiness in life. I know that your father is so proud of you.

To the Shah family, I am so very sorry for your loss.

– Bobby Kemerait