Pleasant Hill school board member and business owner Ryan Vescovi died of COVID-19 on Friday at the age of 48.
Tuesday night, his fellow board members held a moment of silence in honor of Vescovi, who was serving his third term. And many residents have helped create a memorial, placing flowers, shirts and memorabilia outside of his restaurant, Guido’s Pizza in the Cass County town.
Signs placed outside of his business read, “Fly High Ryan.”
Dozens of residents and friends have shared memories of Vescovi, whom they describe as someone who always went out of his way to help others.
“Ryan has always been supportive of our business,” said Jennifer Ramirez, owner of El Dorado Mexican Restaurant in nearby Raymore. “When we first opened El Dorado he gave us so much advice and tips. I told him that it was our dream to create a culture like Guido’s. …
“Squeeze your loved ones. COVID can take anyone.”
On Sept. 3, Guido’s Pizza announced on Facebook that Vescovi was in the hospital battling COVID-19.
An obituary posted by Stanley-Dickey Funeral Home said he was a lifelong resident of Pleasant Hill, having graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 1991.
In addition to running Guido’s Pizza, Vescovi, along with his wife, Lisa, also owned Kidz Inc., a child care center. Vescovi served in several roles throughout the community, including as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Pleasant Hill Community United Way.
“He was not vaccinated, but felt he was immune because he already had COVID,” his stepmother, Kathy Feist-Vescovi, said in a message to The Star. “He will be missed by so many because he was so caring and was someone who didn’t just talk, but made things happen and happen quickly.”
“Ryan was a lovable man, very personable and had the energy of three or four people,” she said.
Barbershop owner Adam Bush said that Vescovi was a true friend who helped him launch his business.
“And it didn’t matter how busy you were you always texted me and checked on me after I left Guido’s when I start(ed) cutting hair and (were) one of my biggest supporters!! To say the town lost someone special is an understatement,” Bush wrote on Facebook.
Vescovi and his wife have four children.
He was always “young at heart” and never sat still, his obituary said. He enjoyed spending time outdoors with his family, at the lake boating. He collected sports cars and “Star Wars” memorabilia, played golf and “could rattle off the stats of any professional athlete in any sport.”
“Ryan was a person of faith. Baptized when he was 15 years old he believed in God and led his life adhering to the word. He carried scripture in his heart and could recite the words of the Bible from memory,” the obituary states.
The Pleasant Hill school district did not immediately return The Star’s request for an interview. After starting the school year with masks optional, the school board earlier this month approved a mask mandate for all students and staff.
A visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, according to the obituary.