The communities of Big Sur and Carmel lost a shining light last week when Weston Call, 32, passed away in his sleep of natural causes after going to bed Aug. 12.
Call, a Big Sur resident and Carmel native, was an entrepreneur and innovator who sought to help alleviate the over-tourism impacts on Big Sur, and in May launched a shuttle service from Big Sur Station to Pfeiffer Beach to reduce vehicular traffic on Sycamore Canyon Road.
Additionally, Call used his shuttle service to play audio recordings for passengers to give them “geographic literacy” so that they had a sense of Big Sur’s history, ecology and current challenges.
“Weston was so proud of his family’s history here, and the need for ongoing stewardship relating to this community,” says his father, Brian Call. “He recognized it was his time to support the people of the community in any way that he could, and he was always reaching out to do that.”
Call’s friend Stewart Gardner, who works for Call’s shuttle business, credits Call with being able to address a vexing traffic problem that’s been ongoing for decades.
“It’s the first time anyone implemented a solution,” Gardner says. “Things don’t work very quickly in Big Sur, and the fact he got it up and going, and the fact people are happy with it, is a testament to Weston’s ability to bring people together.”
This summer’s shuttle service, which was a pilot demonstration project to prove the concept could work, ends after Labor Day, Sept. 3.
Big Sur native and resident Chelsea Belle Davey, who grew up with Call and considered him her best friend, says it’s not clear what the future holds for the shuttle now that Call has passed away.
“[Call] really solved a problem,” Davey says, adding that every shuttle trip since July 4 has been full. “All of those agencies he was working with are really happy with the trajectory of it and wanted to start next year.”
She adds that all of those who worked with Call are committed to finishing the trial as a way to honor Call’s legacy.
She also says that at the time of his passing, “he was in a really good spot, on top of the world.”
“Weston was a people person, and his connections ran deep,” Davey says. “He was charismatic, he had a way of making light of hard situations, and dancing when no one else could hear music.”
“I just want personally to thank the community for their incredible outpouring of support for [Call’s brother] Andrew, me and [Call’s mother] Galen,” Call's father, Brian, says, “and all the stories that have been given to us regarding the wonderful man that he was.”
Memorial services will be held Thursday, Sept. 6 at 2pm at the Carmel Mission, and a paddle-out is planned at Carmel Beach beginning at 5pm on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Memorial gifts can be made to the Weston Call Fund for Big Sur. Those can be mailed to the Community Foundation for Monterey County, 2354 Garden Road, Monterey, 93940 or made online at the Community Foundation’s website.
Those wanting to send their thoughts can reach Call's family and friends at firstname.lastname@example.org.