July 15 – Happy Birthday Laverne Turnbull

Usually, the current and former Amsterdam residents recognized on this Blog have accomplished something worthy of note in one field or another at some point in their lives. But the heart and soul of this City has always been comprised of people who have not so evidently done so. They are the people who wake up every day and go to work at ordinary jobs to support their families. They live their lives serving others, usually their children, spouses or perhaps aging parents, sacrificing many of the better things in life so that there is enough food in the fridge, the rent or taxes get paid and they can make those payments on the braces for their kid’s teeth while their own decay away.

From the outside looking in, especially to those who are in much more fortunate circumstance, the lives of these unrecognized folks may seem boring, even dreary but that’s only because you don’t really know them. I’d like to introduce you to one.

While looking for someone from this City who was born on July 15th I came across the obituary of Laverne Turnbull. I used to know him quite well and had no idea he had passed away in February of 2014 at the age of 89. When I clicked on the Tributes & Condolences link of his Riley Mortuary Obituary listing, I found none had been left. At first that saddened me but not for long.

Laverne and his beloved wife Nina were regular customers of mine at the old Ralph’s cocktail lounge that used to be located on Market Street on the current site of Dr. Andolina’s office parking lot. I bartended at Ralph’s every Friday night during my college years and can honestly say that while doing so, I met some of the nicest people it has ever been my pleasure to know.

Laverne did most of the maintenance work at the Alexander Rest Home in Hagaman, NY and Nina was a hard-working purchasing agent for the Greater Amsterdam School District. They had two sons, David and Dean, both around my age.

I have never met two people more in love than Nina and LaVerne were with each other. Now don’t get me wrong, they certainly had their share…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam couple in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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