Philip E. Pastore, 1928-2011

“A Regular Guy,” an Extraordinary Teacher

By Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70

Philip Pastore

Philip Pastore, associate professor of English, left a deep impression, despite his unassuming ways.

Pastore’s route to Orlando Hall, home of Rollins’ English department, was circuitous. The Connecticut native served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army following World War II. His first assignment, as an MP, may have set military history: 12 months, zero arrests. His experience introducing soldiers to the details of the Marshall Plan to reconstruct post-war Europe was his introduction to teaching. He subsequently earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In between, he worked a variety of jobs, including waiter and hotel bellman. In 1969, he came to Rollins to begin a 26-year teaching career, specializing in American literature. On retirement, he was elevated to emeritus status.

Students adored Pastore. John Slavens ’83 recalled, “I was a freshman English major, struggling through Chaucer, and wondering if I should change majors. A classmate suggested I make an appointment with Dr. Pastore … because he was ‘just a regular guy.’ What a difference he made to my college experience. He always had his door (and ear) open.”

“Year in and year out, he never lost his enthusiasm,” said Edward Cohen, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and current chair of the English department. “You had the feeling he wanted to give his all to his students.”

Noted for his wide-ranging interests, deep intelligence, and unorthodox sense of humor, Pastore also embodied selfless generosity. Whether stray dogs or hungry children, his compassion was boundless. The charities he supported ranged from Doctors Without Borders to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. He was also devoted to family—his brothers; his son, Philip; his stepson, Henry Cooper ’76; and his grandsons.

Maurice “Socky” O’Sullivan, Kenneth Curry Professor of Literature, described Pastore as “the perfect iconoclast,” adding, “He was a truly remarkable, completely unpretentious, completely authentic human being.”

In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Pastore had a significant influence on my own decision to pursue graduate study. I had just one class with him—the English faculty each taught a day in our senior seminar, each presenting a different school of literary criticism. He brought so much passion and obvious affection for the literature, leaving us not with a piece of deconstructed text but a work we better understood and loved even more. I thought, “That’s what I want to do!”—LKR