Community raises over $25K for family in the wake of tragic surfing accident

Haruwn Wesley at his pie shop in Pacifica. (Image via Shampa’s Pies Instagram)

Haruwn Wesley, the owner of Shampa’s Pies in Pacifica, died on Dec. 20 following a surfing accident at Fort Point in San Francisco.

Wesley was known as an expert pie baker and generous spirit who often rescued people caught in riptides in the ocean and gave pies for free to people who couldn’t afford to pay for them. He once saved a man whose life vest malfunctioned after the sailboat he was in capsized under the Golden Gate Bridge, for which Wesley received a Congressional Honor from the U.S. House of Representatives and was recognized by the American Red Cross, according to a GoFundMe page established in support of his family. He was an avid surfer who also played upright bass and practiced tai chi, including with the Chinese National Team in Beijing.

Haruwn Wesley and his pies were a popular presence at local farmers markets. (Image via Shampa’s Pies Facbook page)

Wesley’s sweet potato, lemon chess, pecan, chocolate cream and other pies drew a following, both at the Pacifica shop and his stands at local farmers markets. Wesley named the bakery after his mother-in-law, who had encouraged him to open a food business.

“He adjusted his recipes — or ‘mix’ — as he called it depending on the humidity, the salt in the air, the sun or clouds, in addition to the unique aspects of each batch of organic fruit since he felt all of those were essential ingredients,” the GoFundMe page reads. “When a senior citizen or child would ask about the pie and not have the money to buy one, he would say, ‘This one is for you — I can’t sell it, please take it.’”

Pecan, chocolate cream and lemon chess pies from Shampa’s Pies. (Photo by Elena Kadvany)

GoFundMe campaign was launched in the wake of Wesley’s passing to help his family pay for medical and mortuary expenses, ongoing bills from the bakery and his children’s education, which has been paid for with income from the bakery.

“He loved people deeply and soulfully,” Wesley’s wife wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He never looked back, only forward. He was humble and generous with his time, his spirit, and literally, the shirt off his back.”

Comments on the GoFundMe page and Shampa’s Pies Facebook consistently describe Wesley as an infectiously kind soul and cherished member of many communities, from Pacifica to local surf breaks.

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign click here.

Elena Kadvany

A writer with a passion for investigative reporting, telling untold stories and public-service journalism, I have built my career covering education and restaurants in the Bay Area. My blog and biweekly newsletter, Peninsula Foodist, is the go-to source for restaurant news in Silicon Valley. My work has been published in The Guardian, Eater, Bon Appetit’s Healthyish, SF Weekly and The Six Fifty.

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