Dustin Douglas Paranto, 39, of Newport, Oregon, was born March 27, 1978, and raised by his loving parents John and Glenda Thomas. He spent his early childhood on the Bay Road, and his teenage years in Elk City attending Eddyville High school. A third-generation fisherman, Dustin knew he wanted to be on the water even as a little kid, and took his first week long crabbing trip at just 8 years old. He had no fear of the water, and the 50-dollar bill he earned on that trip was just the beginning. In 1996, he earned his diploma and departed for Alaska on the F/V Golden Pisces on his first king crabbing adventure at the age of 17.
Shortly after his first season in Alaska, he fell in love with Celeste Morris, the love of his life and the woman who would become his wife. They had both spent their childhoods on the Bayfront, where all four of their parents worked, and attended grade school together. Their first date, a river fishing trip, took place in 1997. Celeste arrived to pick him up with a one-year old dressed in swimsuit and rubber boots. He hadn’t known that she had a daughter, but when he opened the door, he smiled and asked, “who’s this little buddy?,” and Little Buddy was what he called Samantha for a long time, as he raised her as his own. Dustin and Celeste called it their summer of love, and knew they were going to spend their lives together right from their first kiss. On May 24, 2013, after 17 years of dating, Dustin and Celeste became husband and wife as the sun set in Maui.
Dustin made his career in Alaska, fishing in the Bering Sea, spending time on the F/V Trailblazer, the F/V Majesty and briefly the F/V Pacific Venture. In September 2000, he delivered and named his first-born daughter Sylvia, and when he looked in her eyes, he saw himself. He had never known love like that, and found himself in a new way. Born just after midnight, her middle name Morningstar also holds significance in what a light she brought to his life. Since his family was growing, he wanted to fish more locally, and in 2001, poured his heart and soul into his dory the F/V Sylvia, salmon fishing in his down time between Alaska trips.
Dustin was a fisherman. Fishing was his profession and fishing was his hobby. He spent 22 years on the ocean, and was therefore away from home often. He worked on the F/V Blazer out of Newport for years. His way of taking a day off was to spend time on the water, fishing with his son, or taking his family camping on the river. He spent his time at home smoking fish or cutting firewood with the guys. His favorite game of cribbage was one he didn’t play for free, and he could be found with his fellow crew mates playing cribbage over coffee whether he was at sea or ashore. He worked hard to provide for his family, and when he was home that was no different. Sylvia remembers the smell of steak cooking, and the smile on his face as he would slice a piece to feed her right out of the skillet.
In 2004, Celeste and Dustin welcomed their daughter Phoebe, and in 2010 Dustin II was born. He loved his kids, and worked hard to make sure his kids never went without.
Dustin was a strong man with a big heart. Always a survivor, he had the courage to overcome obstacles. Even at his lowest points he knew his self-worth, and would go from zero to hero by the sheer force of his will. Dustin always said, “you haven’t felt pain ‘til you’ve felt max pain.” These qualities served him well as a fisherman and Captain, as he most recently worked aboard the F/V Lady Law and skippered the F/V Ms. Law, as well as fishing in a salmon fleet aboard his troller. His resignation from the presidency of the BOS club has taken place regretfully early.
Other men knew him as the best block man to have fished on these waters, but he would never have made that claim about himself. He was naturally talented, but never boasted. Instead, he shared his skills with others, mentoring a lot of young men and making them into the fishermen they are today. He was truly a legend in his day and the salt of the earth. He will be remembered here by so many people.
Dustin is survived by his wife Celeste Paranto, who will never see a sunset and not think of him. They both took a lot of comfort in knowing that when the sun was setting they were watching it at the same time, ever since they were young, no matter where they both were. He is also survived by his children: Samantha, 22; Sylvia, 16; Phoebe, 12; and Dustin II, 6; parents, John and Glenda Thomas; brothers: Luke Paranto and Joe (Maria) Thomas; and sister Hayley Thomas; nieces, nephews and cousins; and more brothers on the water than can be named.
Please join his loved ones for a memorial service at Bateman’s Funeral Home at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 25, and a Celebration of Life to follow at the Yacht Club at 4:00PM. Private graveside burial will take place with family in Logsden at the Riverside cemetery.
Dustin left this earth too soon, but he was a man of the sea and died on the water doing what he loved the most. On August 16, 2017, he breathed his last breath on the deck of the F/V Luna. As he heads into the last frontier may he soar with the eagles.
Newport Fisherman’s Wives are accepting donations on behalf of Dustin’s family.