WESTMORELAND, N.Y.-- In the aftermath of Wednesday's fatal car-pedestrian accident, parishioners at the Bartlett Baptist Church are remembering the victim, their recently retired pastor.
Reverend Charles Thomas Hast led the church for 20 years before retiring this past Sunday.
He was killed just days into retirement.
"I'm sad for him because he had so many other things planned to do," Mary Dezotell, who attends the church said.
"It's kind of a strange feeling knowing he won't be taking the pulpit again," Carolyn Nelson, the church's organist said. "He always said that death is just a part of life and would want us to celebrate the life that he lived."
For the man remembered fondly as "Pastor Tom" or "Tom," the parishioners say they are keeping his advice and spiritual guidance close to their hearts.
"We are family, we gather together," Dezotell said. "And he's our leader. Still."