Darren Lloyd Guttman
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal."
Darren Lloyd Guttman was born Nov. 28, 1956 and entered eternal life on Oct. 19, 2013. His spirit is carried on by his wife, friend and soulmate, Star Guttman; his father and musical inspiration, Yehuda Guttman; his loving daughter, Jessica Guttman; his stepsons Daniel (Malinet) Garcia and Alex Garcia; his granddaughter, Alissa Lynn; his sister-in-law, "Mi hermana," Mary; his faithful dog, Lucky; and countless friends, extended family and all his taxi drivers whom he loved so much. He is predeceased by his mother, Ruth Guttman.
Darren developed a love for music and the arts at a young age. While his father would play the piano at night, he would fall asleep underneath the piano listening to the music. He could still recall each piece his father ever played. This musical gift was passed down from father to son. Darren had perfect pitch and knew every note he heard played. He loved all types of music from classical to rap. He was a great pianist and composer and had recently composed two pieces in the past few years. His love of the arts drew him to the theater and the movies.
He was a puppeteer alongside his parents at the Red Barn Theater featuring puppets like "Bella" and "Della." As a teenager, he worked at the Key West Picture Show, where he did everything from running the films to working the concession stand. Darren could quote endless lines from thousands of movies.
At age 16, Darren graduated from Mary Immaculate. He saved enough money to move up North, and stayed with his maternal grandmother, Marie. In New York City, Darren drove his first taxi. From that moment, he was inspired to a career as an entrepreneur in the taxi business. Darren was a self-made man who started in the taxi business when he returned to Key West by driving a cab for Mr. Abelardo Boza. He quickly moved up the ranks from cleaning the cabs to manager. When the company changed ownership, Darren continued to work for Danny Boza and then Ed Swift. During this time, Darren also held a Realtor's license and worked for Mr. Edward Knight.
Darren considered each of these men his mentors and loyal friends. Through his work ethic and intellect, Darren soon established his own business, Friendly Cab. He built the business from the ground up. A colleague recently told the family that Darren drew the first taxi maps to include all the lanes and alleys of Key West to improve driver efficiency and "revolutionized the Key West taxi industry."
In 1986, he was awarded the Small Fleet Operator of the Year award by the International Taxi Cab Association.
Darren was an avid coin collector, and self-taught numismatist. He always carried special coins in his pocket and enjoyed sharing their history. He had a quick wit, and always had a joke to tell.
Darren knew every inch of this island. He loved the green foliage, the ocean surrounding Key West, and taking his "Star" on the boat to their special spot at sunset. You would often see Darren walking around town barefoot. He loved to feel the earth under his feet. He was truly a part of what he called "the flavor of Key West."
Above all, Darren loved his family and his community. Those who knew him best will agree that he "burned bright, and went out with a star." He lived to please and help his fellow man. Darren always had a small gift or trinket ready to give a friend or a stranger. During his lifetime, he gave away more than 40 cars to those in need. He was the first to extend a helping hand and expected nothing in return.
His family and friends mourn and remember him as an innovative, hard working, enthusiastic, honest, compassionate man -- and above all, a "Friendly Man." He was one of a kind.
Please join us in remembering, honoring and celebrating the life of Darren Guttman at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at White Street Pier.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you "pay it forward" in honor of Darren. Do an act of kindness for a loved one or a stranger, and keep Darren's "Friendly" gestures moving forward.