Nestor Weigand was one of the most-gracious men I’ve had the privilege to meet, let alone interact with. KPI lost a trustee and dear friend with his passing last week. It would have been easy for someone of his standing in life to be aloof. To have known Nestor was to experience firsthand how that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Even still, it wasn’t just me or my colleagues at Kansas Policy Institute who felt this graciousness. Arguably, as a long-time KPI trustee, he had an incentive to treat our team well. His warmth and charm extended to everyone with whom I saw him interact.
Everyone who knew Nestor could tell stories to illustrate the integrity and courteousness that defined Nestor’s life. Two immediately come to my mind. After losing a bet, he was obliged to treat my wife and I to dinner. EVERYONE we encountered in the restaurant was greeted with his smile and a kind word. Years before, my 18 month-old decided to lift his shirt over his head when we bumped into Nestor at a Freddy’s Frozen Custard – endearing in and of itself that Nestor was meeting a friend for custard and fries on a weeknight. The only thing redder than the Freddy’s logo was my face. That of a young(ish) staffer in front of a board member but Nestor didn’t miss a beat as he tickled the recently exposed tummy.
Again, these are but two of the many stories I have only knowing Nestor a bit. It is hard to imagine the stories that his family and closest friends could share and the loss they must now feel.
Nestor Weigand was a trustee of Kansas Policy Institute for nearly two decades. He helped guide our organization from a small shop publishing periodic white papers of limited reach to a dynamic organization doing everything from research on which legislators rely to pro bono, constitutional litigation. George Pearson, KPI’s co-founding chairman, said, “Nestor saw us through the mistake of having the wrong guy running the organization. He proved to many that we were serious.” Through the nearly three decades since the Kansas Public Policy Institute became the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy to today as Kansas Policy Institute, we’ve been blessed by Nestor’s character and relentlessly positive outlook.
Pearson, a long-time friend and compatriot of Nestor, continued, “Nestor was a man of accomplishment and vision. In addition to building a successful real estate business he served his profession as the leader of city, state, national and international realtor’s associations. Nestor also believed in service and served on various non-profit Boards. These commitments were varied and ranged from political and policy organizations to healthcare. Nestor was a strong advocate for liberty and freedom and integral to the success of KPI. We all benefited from his wise counsel and guidance. We will miss his participation in our endeavors but will know that we are carrying on the mission he so strongly supported and believed in. Nestor had a great interest in politics and was involved at all levels and had even been a candidate for Governor. He was a humble man of faith and devoted to the church. He was kind to all, a friend of many and he treated everyone with dignity and respect. Those who knew Nestor are all the better for it.”
Adam Smith—the father of modern economics—said, “Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely.” Nestor Weigand was certainly both.