LeRoy Pennysaver & News

LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - MARCH 17, 2019 by Lynne Belluscio Recently, LeRoy lost three men whose names will be forever remembered in this community. I’m not sure if Anil Sawhney ad- opted LeRoy, or LeRoy adopted Anil, but he was the town dentist who cared about our families as if they were his own. His quiet generosity helped many youth programs and sports teams. Many people don’t know Anil’s story, but he arrived in the United States with $8 in his pocket and although he was a practicing den- tist in India before he came to the United States, he had to spend time getting his certification be- fore he could begin his practice in New York State. He moved to LeRoy in 1984 and began serving this community. He was a kind and gentle man who happened to be a dentist. And you didn’t have to be his patient to understand that. He liked a good cup of hot coffee, and he had a dry sense of humor, and a broad smile. He was a dedicated Rotarian, who enthusiastically supported the local projects, but who also sup- ported the Rotary International Polio Plus initiative to eradicate polio throughout the world. My memory of Jim Shelby, was a man, sitting behind the counter in the back of the store, working on a watch or a piece of jewelry with his jeweler’s glass pushed up out of the way. All of us, went to Shelby’s to buy that special gift – a wedding present, an engagement ring, a wedding ring, confirmation jewelry, an engraved memento. And when something needed to be fixed, we would only trust Jim to make the repairs, knowing that his at- tention to detail would guarantee the family heirloom would be re- stored. The women who worked at Shelby’s all tell of what a kind and caring family the Shelbys were to work for. Perhaps the most lasting impression, was that Jim, and the people who worked for him, weren’t in business to make a sale. They were there to make family memories and to preserve them. That doesn’t hap- pen anymore. As a historian, I knew of Jim’s keen interest in the Civil War, which he shared free- ly with students and historians alike. His soft-spoken demeanor always seemed to be in contrast to the military bearing that would have been necessary for a soldier. Shelby’s store has been closed for several years, but for many of us, no matter what happens to his store on the corner, it will always be Shelby’s, and we will walk past the door, and remem- ber our friend Jim, sitting behind the counter. Judd Crocker ran his hard- ware store the same way. He was there to help and to make sure you had the right tool for the job, and if he didn’t have it, he would order it for you. And of course, there was always humorous ban- ter and a joke. Judd didn’t sit be- hind the counter - - he was always there at the door ready to find out what you needed, or to ask how the kids were doing, or to share the latest news. I don’t think there was a man in town, who didn’t think that when they re- tired, they’d go work at Crockers. I have to confess, I have always been a hardware store shopper. I like to see a selection of finish- ing nails and carriage bolts. I like walking down the paint aisle and when you walked into Crockers, you knew that whatever needed to be bolted, or nailed or paint- ed, you could depend on Judd to make sure you had the right stuff for the job. In 1969, when we built our house on North Road, our first visitors were Judd and his wife Marilyn, who walked up the driveway to introduce them- selves and welcome us to LeRoy. I’ll always remember that. And for the past several years, Judd was committed to making sure Machpelah Cemetery would forever be a place to entrust our loved ones. It was because of his persistence, that the Friends of Machpelah was formed last year. Each in their own way, these men gave to this commu- nity and LeRoy is a better place because of them. When people talk of why they chose to live in a small community, it is because of people like Anil, Jim, and Judd. They were not just the dentist, the jeweler, and the hardwareman. They were our friends and neigh- bors who we knew would give us good advice and who cared about us and our families. We will miss them. A Dentist, a Jeweler, and a Hardwareman James E. Shelby Dr. Anil K. Sawhney Judd L. Crocker