By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – This year's Spirit of Shrewsbury festival will be a little less lively this year, with the unexpected absence of its master of ceremonies Kevork “Kev” Tevekelian, who passed away Aug. 29. He was 47.
The Shrewsbury resident and father of three young boys had faced an eight-year battle with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer. For 30 years he owned and operated Kev Tev Entertainment, where he worked as a disc jockey.
“Kev was a great guy that helped us make several of our events amazing throughout the years,” said Sabina Terrades, chair of the Spirit of Shrewsbury festival. “He carried himself proudly during his disease. We will miss him.”
Kev expected to be at the festival again this year Sept. 27-28, just as he had been for a number of prior years.
This past June, shortly after finding out he was in the final stages of the disease, Kev organized the third annual “Hills Farm Dogs and Doubles” baseball game for the neighborhood kids.
Kev was a fixture in the Hills Farm Estates Neighborhood, where he also coordinated cookouts, yearly holiday gatherings, and dinner parties for his friends. He loved a good poker game or a challenging bet with his buddies, coaching his boys Little League and basketball teams, or emceeing at local events.
Natasha Colonero, a neighborhood friend whose sons are close with Kev's children, recalled his love of entertaining and participating.
“He was an amazing man, full of energy, kind and outgoing,” she said. “Kev always coached, and called everyone “son” on his team,” she said. “He cheered for everyone and had the wittiest comments.”
Neighbor and friend Dave Mercuri knew Kev for 12 years. “He was one of the most outspoken people I ever met in my life,” he said. “He always knew the right thing to say at the right time.”
“It was easy for Kev to make friends. He was easy to get to know, easy to talk to,” he added. “You could tell by the number of friends he had.”
Most significantly, even after his diagnosis in July 2006, Kev kept living life to the fullest. “He never complained during his sickness,” Mercuri said. “He kept entertaining and spending time with his boys.”
In an email sent to friends recapping the Dogs and Doubles event, Kev summed up his feelings for his beloved community: “I believe we have a very special situation here at Hills Farm ,” he wrote. “There is truly a sense of community here. Established neighbors, newer arrivals, neighbors of all ages, from different backgrounds, all getting together to enjoy the sights and sounds of a kids” baseball game. While sharing a laugh or two, eating a hotdog, baked good or enjoying an adult beverage amongst new and old friends. How cool is that! Recently this community banded together to help our family in our time of need and I can's tell you how moved we were. But that's what being part of a community is all about.”
His wife Jennifer and three boys, Andrew, 11, and twins Derek and Kyle, 9, also were overwhelmed by the caring of family and friends.
“My life and my children's lives will never be the same. We have been deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support from family, neighbors and friends,” the family wrote on its website. “There are no words to express our gratitude. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Family and friends will honor and remember Kev's life by gathering for calling hours at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors, The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 4 – 8 p.m. and again Thursday, Sept. 5, in The First Congregational Church, 19 Church Road, where his funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mountain View Cemetery.
Those who wish to may make a contribution to The Kev Tev Fund ?at ?http://www.gofundme.com/31ylfw