In hindsight, his family learned that something was very wrong with Scott Pazer’s heart.
Nineteen years old, a sophomore at Tufts University, he didn’t wake up one morning, 33 years ago.
“He died from acute arrhythmia, very much like the sudden death of infants,” his mother, Shelley Pazer, who lives on Long Island, said.
“He was a very hardworking, intelligent young man who had an affinity with all sorts of people,” she said. “He was principled. He had many convictions. If I had ordered him from a catalog, I couldn’t have had a more wonderful young man as a son.
“When I went to Tufts after he died for a memorial service the students organized, they said ‘Scotty was our rabbi.’ People would come to him with their problems. He listened to people. He had a lot of empathy. He was wise beyond his 19 years.”
He also was an avid jogger.
“He would jog in any sort of weather,” his mother said. “He was extremely disciplined. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was always like president of his class. He was president of his middle school.”
His mother has a story about “how low key he was.
“He was about 12 or 13,” she said. “I knew there was an election. I looked out the window when he came off the school bus. He had a very dour expression. He walked in. I didn’t want to pounce on it. I assumed he didn’t win. He said, ‘Aren’t you going to ask your son what happened in the election? I won. I’m president.’
“He didn’t want to make a big thing out of it. I think it was also a way of teasing me.
“He was the star on the debating team.
“One summer, Scott got himself a job with a landscaping family. They were all men of the soil, working very hard. He liked it. At the end of the summer they said to him, ‘Who knew a Jewish kid from Dix Hills could work so hard?’”
He took up jogging when he was 13.
“He decided he wanted to lose weight,” Ms. Pazer said. “There was no drama. He just did it. Then he became very very slim. He was very very proud. He ran marathons. He did very well. But he never, never bragged.”