He was ‘Dad’ tooPeople knew Joe Zastera as the pharmacist, some, as family members joke, only from the shoulders up behind the drug store counter in his white jacket. Others knew him as a friend and more knew him as a community booster.
People knew Joe Zastera as the pharmacist, some, as family members joke, only from the shoulders up behind the drug store counter in his white jacket. Others knew him as a friend and more knew him as a community booster.
But how was he as a father? Frank and Jody Zastera reminisced about their dad this weekend, a bittersweet one with laughs and tears.
Joe expected a lot from his kids, they said. There were three children: Carolyn lives in Northfield, Frank is in Superior, and Jody remains in Two Harbors.
“He was a great dad,” Frank said, “Though there were times I wouldn’t have said so.” He was an energetic son, taking after his father, and sometimes Joe’s “strict” nature clashed with his son.
Jody said it could be difficult to live up to expectations but both said they always knew one thing: Their father cared deeply for them and showed it. “He was a loving dad,” Frank said. “He took a lot of pride in us,” Jody said.
Both worked at the drug store as teenagers, at the “mom and pop organization,” Jody said. “Dad in the back, Mom in the front.”
Frank felt closest to his dad when they were outdoors together; hunting, snowmobiling, or working on the cabin.
He remembers with laughter the time they went out to the Marble Lake area in a new 1970 Scout. “Dad knew an old road,” Frank said. “We were building bridges with logs.”
Trailblazing in a new vehicle epitomized his father, he said. “That’s what it was like for him,” Frank said. “He wasn’t afraid to try anything.”
His gregariousness with people, many who he was meeting for the first time, was amazing, the children said. “He had this easy flow in meeting new people,” Frank said. “Me, I need to know someone a bit before going up and talking with them. Not Dad.”
Jody said many people assumed he grew up in Two Harbors. “For someone who didn’t grow up here, he knew a lot of people.”
People came first in his life, Frank said, in business and pleasure. “He said if it was about the people, the business would follow. They came first.”
“A lot of people looked up to Dad,” Jody said. “He made me proud.”
“He’s the person I always wanted to be when I grew up,” Frank said.