Carol Pastor – Island Icon

Written by Coronado Historical Association Volunteer Peggy Eddy

This article was originally published in the July 2022 Issue of Coronado Magazine. To read this article and more from Coronado Magazine, click here or the button below.

Word such as “amazing,” “exceptional,” and “extraordinary” are not adequate to describe her dedication to family, creative endeavors, entrepreneurial achievements and civic contributions of Island Icon, Carol Pastor.

Born on December 1, 1934, Carol was raised as an only child in Troy, Vermont. As her mother was one of seven children, Carol benefitted from her large closely knit farm- owning family. Until Co-vid, Carol returned regularly to Vermont to reconnect with her cousins.

Carol always excelled academically as well as in art. She graduated from Central Catholic High School where she was “involved with everything”.

Humorously labelled a “traitor” by her cousins when she left Vermont for college, Carol earned a B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from St Joseph’s College in Maryland. During an internship at a County hospital in Oakland, Carol met and married Morton H. Pastor, M.D., who was completing his residency as an anesthesiologist.

Following the completion of their studies and Mort’s three-year tour of duty in the Air Force, the Pastors settled in San Jose. While her husband worked at various hospitals, Carol was asked to oversee a hospital renovation and the construction of a 50-bed hospital while she simultaneously served as its dietician. As she loved architecture, when her husband decided to open a family practice, Carol aptly designed the building for him. “Mort would write his ideas on his forearm while he was in scrubs and then come home to discuss them with me!” Carol fondly recalls.

In 1967, the Pastors relocated to L.A. Carol started an interior design firm while Mort was at USC and UCLA medical schools. By that time, the Pastor family had expanded. “Seven daughters in eight and a half years!” Carol reports.

While living in Malibu, to escape the crowds and traffic in L.A., the Pastors spent many weekends in Coronado. As their daughters were learning to drive, she and Mort decided that Coronado was a safer place to live and bought units in the Shores in 1974. Settling permanently in Coronado in 1975, their units at the Shores launched a series of real estate purchases in Coronado, including what is now known as “Crown Manor”.

Trading several Coronado Shores condominiums for Crown Manor, the family moved into the house in 1977. During the extensive three-month renovation, Carol restored the house to its original 1920’s era condition. Carol was happy to open the house for political and charitable fundraisers, as well as a favorite gathering place for her daughters’ teammates on their CHS swim and Powder Puff football teams.

While living in Crown Manor, one of Carol’s favorite memories was decorating the 40-room house for Christmas, including a lighted Christmas tree in the front window. “No one had lived there permanently for 50 years,” Carol recalls, “so people were thrilled to see it.”

During her 47 years in Coronado, Carol has built spec houses, owned, and managed various properties, and started several businesses. She and her husband developed and operated a health and fitness club in Escondido, built a 40-unit senior housing project in Fallbrook, co-founded the Island Inquirer in 1980, and at one point owned five jewelry stores.

At age 50, lifelong learner Carol joined her husband in attending law school for three years. Although she never practiced law, Carol feels that law school classes helped as she developed properties and businesses.

Widowed since her husband’s death in 2005, Carol has dedicated countless years to volunteer activities in Coronado. “In every town there is a need,” she has said, mentioning that her Vermont cousins volunteer with the Fire Department, Rescue Teams, and schools. “My girls feel the same way as I do,” she proudly stated in a 2017 feature article in the Coronado Island News.

 For fourteen years, she volunteered as a Coronado Police Senior Volunteer, and was honored for her dedication there as well as for her fundraising efforts for police officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty and their families. Carol has been deeply involved with Friends of the Library from working in their bookstore to serving on their board and as President. Reflective of her love of architecture and art, Carol has been involved with the preservation of historical homes with the Historical Preservation Commission. Carol is also active with the Coronado Historical Association and regularly authors articles highlighting aspects of Coronado history and its longtime residents.

Alumnae of CHS, Carol’s daughters excelled academically and athletically. All college graduates, they are accomplished in their own careers, ranging from business to nursing. Several of her family members still live in Coronado. Grandmother to seven girls and four boys, Carol reports that her grandchildren are “spread all over the world.” Recently one of her granddaughters visited Carol while vacationing from her job in Australia.

Over the years, Carol’s favorite trips have been to Italy and Ireland. She loves Alaska and estimates she has taken eight or nine cruises to the Caribbean and other areas. She is now deciding between more travel to Europe and staying “stateside,” visiting some of our national parks.

Some of Carol’s favorite memories are walking along the beach with Mort, the small town feel of Coronado and knowing all the business owners on Orange Avenue by name. According to Carol, the biggest change to Coronado is the bridge which brought “more traffic and crime” to the city.

The best advice she has received, which she shares with her children and grandchildren, is to “keep your mouth closed and ears open and you’ll learn a lot.” Additionally, the best counsel she would give her sixteen-year-old self is to “keep forging on.”   

Loving wife, consummate mother, devoted grandmother, intrepid entrepreneur, talented artist, real estate developer, gracious hostess, jewelry designer, community volunteer, and optimist, Island Icon Carol Pastor has indeed  kept forging on!

This article was originally published in the July 2022 Issue of Coronado Magazine. To read this article and more from Coronado Magazine, click here or the button below.

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