The Jeff Shoup Walk

Most Westporters know — and love — the Riverwalk, the brick path hugging the Saugatuck from the lower Jesup Green parking lot, past the library, all the way to the Levitt Pavilion.

Most Westporters don’t know, however, that before Betty Lou Cummings fundraised for the Riverwalk, there was a smaller path named for Jeff Shoup. It leads from the library parking lot — near the Levitt entrance — down to the Riverwalk.

The plaque — almost buried by foliage now, honoring a young man who died in the 1970s shortly after graduating from Staples — says “His love for nature will live forever.”

Jeff Shoup Plaque

The other day, a longtime Westporter strolled down Jeff’s Nature Path. He found not beauty and serenity, but a mess of fencing and smashed trash cans.

Shoup 1

Looking closer, he saw what he thinks may be a small amount of oil, leaching into the river from what — back in the day — was once the town dump.

Shoup oil

We probably can’t do much about the oil — after all, the USS Arizona still leaks nearly 72 years after being sunk at Pearl Harbor.

But we can do something about Jeff Shoup’s Path. Perhaps it was overlooked during last month’s town cleanup day. Perhaps the fencing has something to do with the renovation of the Levitt Pavilion.

Perhaps someone — who remembers Jeff, or just wants his path to look nice — will spend an hour or so straightening it up.

8 responses to “The Jeff Shoup Walk

  1. John Karrel

    I’d be happy to lead a group to take care of this.
    9:30 a.m. – noon, a week from today, the 11th?
    Probably need at least six people. (And it looks as if one pick-up truck would help!)

  2. John– Thanks for volunteering to do this. I’d be happy to help. I just wrote you an email. –Prill

  3. Jeff was one of my best friends in high school. He was a fabulous young man!!!!

  4. Wish I was there. I would help.

  5. Peter Gambaccini

    I got to meet Jeff once when a mutual friend brought him to my house. Very nice young man. His father was Dr. Homer Shoup, our family GP, my doctor from boyhood into my 20s.

  6. Cathy Smith Barnett '66

    Doc Shoup was a gem, an old fashioned family doctor. I loved the painted map of Westport in the exam room. He spoke lovingly of Jeff. The Shoups were a very close family. I’m sure they were pleased to see Jeff honored with a path in his name.

  7. David Stalling

    My brother Bob worked for Jeff and was good friends with his sister Cindy. Jeff’s brother was my math teacher at Long Lots. I remember them as a wonderful, kind family and remember Jeff being a very nice, considerate, friendly guy who cared a lot about nature. I wish I were back East to help with this effort. My brother helped create the trail way back when; I will let him and others know of this great effort. Thanks!

  8. “Happily, improvements to the Jeff Shoup Path are included in our plans for a new Levitt Pavilion. Construction will begin in the next couple of weeks.”