Tuesday, February 7, 2023

A Good Man A Good Woman

When did you get in the habit of reading obituaries?

For me, it's been a while, perhaps back when I was in my 40's.  It's always a sad occasion, too, when I see a familiar name in the obituaries.

Sunday was one of those times, with the obituary of Joseph Kovarik, Sr. 

Mr. Kovarik's family owns a hardware store in Binghamton, New York.   It's an old time kind of hardware store, where help is immediately available if you have a question.  It's good help, too, dispensed with the kind of customer service you wish was available elsewhere.

I would always see the same people in the store when we did go there - perhaps family, perhaps employees who stayed on for years.  That says a lot about an employer.

I don't think I ever met Joseph Kovarik, Sr. when I was in there, but let me tell you a couple of things about him.

He was a talented musician who served in World War II, and then joined his father's hardware business.  He worked there for 72 years - my entire life plus a couple of years for good measure.  His son Joseph Jr, who also worked in the hardware store, passed away in 2021from cancer at the age of 63.

Mr. Kovarik, Sr. retired when he was 96, only because of COVID and the danger of a man his age working retail.  When he passed away earlier this month, he was 99.

I can not imagine someone loving what he did for work so much that he worked at it for 72 years.

Which brings me to a Rochester, New York area woman by the name of Edith Lank, who passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 96.

For years, Ms. Lank had a real estate column in our Sunday paper.  No, let's not call it a real estate column - it was more real estate mixed with a little Dear Abby advice column.  I think the column was in our paper when I moved to this area in the mid 1980's.  It was still in the paper in the summer of 2019 when she wrote her last column.  Before then, I had discovered that Ms. Lank was in her 90's and marveled at her stamina.  Like Joseph Kovarik, Sr. she loved what she did.

She was a pioneer in so many ways, and an expert on Jane Austen.

I invite you to read her last column.

When she died, it made the front page of our paper.

This man and this woman will both will be missed.


  1. ...as a boy I would go to Lauderbach's Hardware with my father. They had everything that you needed and things that you never knew existed. Edith Lank was in deed a Rochester institution!

  2. I have never made it a practice to read obituaries. I figure that if anyone is close to me I will know that they have died.

  3. Your posts are always so evocative and especially this one. I was raised in Rochester. My mom always read obits because she knew everyone. Carol C

  4. I would read it when I lived in my home town area, but not now. I can't now, as the newspaper ceased publishing last year, and completely closed even digitally last month. What little local news I get is an email nightly from one of the local television stations.

  5. It is both calming and sad to read about their passing. The column reads well sounding sophisticated

  6. God bless these two great people...

    My mother read "the Irish Sports pages" every morning for as long as I can remember. I think she was looking to see if she was in there. My Dad had an aunt Genevieve Holton, and Mom's married name was Genevieve Holton. Dad's aunt passed away, and Mom was at work reading the obits, found Aunt Genevieve's obituary, and announced to her colleagues that she was going home...

  7. So sad to hear of their passing. It sounds like they both had long, full lives.


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