On Friday, July 9th, Irvin R. Liachowitz, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away at the age of 96.
Irvin was born on August 22, 1924, at home at 204 E. Dewart St., Shamokin, PA, to Maurice and Jessie Liachowitz. He was raised in Shamokin and graduated from Shamokin High School in 1942. Upon graduation, Irvin entered the US Army, in the Corp of Engineers, and spent the war years in England and France, getting an honorable discharge in 1945 at the sergeant’s rank. Irvin, a lifetime piano virtuoso, leveraged that skill while in France, often playing the piano in the officers’ club.
After the war, Irvin returned to Shamokin and joined his father Maurice in the family business, helping operate Liachowitz Jewelry Store in downtown Shamokin, originally founded in 1888 by Maurice’s uncle Aaron. Irvin embraced the Shamokin community, becoming very active in local affairs. Those activities included membership in the B’nai Israel Synagogue, serving as treasurer and teaching Sunday School for over 20 years; member of the Elks Club, acting as organist for 28 years and on the Board of Trustees for 47 years; member of the Optimist Club where he managed the Edgewood Swim Derby for many years; on the Board of Trustees for the Shamokin-Coal Township Library for over 40 years; member of the Shamokin High School Alumni Association, a former President and a delegate on the scholarship committee; founder and President of Community Concerts Association; and contributor on piano to the Cecilian Club, whose members continued to stay in touch with him after he left Shamokin, which he really appreciated. Irvin was very much part of the fabric of his beloved Shamokin.
Back in Shamokin after the war, like many local singles, Irvin went to dances at the Lodge at Deer Lake, near Pottsville. An accomplished dancer, Irvin swept a local Pottsville girl off her feet – Lillian Rosenberg. That blossomed into romance and ultimately marriage on New Year’s Day in 1950. They lived in the house Irvin was born in on Dewart St., and became part of a vibrant neighborhood with many young families. This new union became a young family as well, with daughter Susan and son Joel. Irvin and Lillian moved to Stetler Drive in Coal Township in 1965 to raise their children. The family flourished over the years, with Susan’s husband Bill, grandchildren Jill and Mark, great-grandsons Noah and Hayes, Jill’s husband Zach and Mark’s wife Kira; and with Joel’s wife Gaye, grandchildren Josh, Jake, Laurel and Ethan, great-grandchildren Lauryn and Trennon, and Josh’s wife Christine.
Music was clearly central to Irvin’s life. An extremely accomplished musical prodigy and concert pianist, his piano playing was renowned throughout the community. Irvin’s music could be heard drifting in the neighborhood on Dewart Street and Stetler Drive as he practiced. He played numerous concerts around the area, including as a featured performer with the SAHS concert band. In his latter years, Irvin played at numerous senior centers, monasteries and other community locations in the area with Victor Boris, also an accomplished pianist and a good friend. He helped to bring music to the area, both as a performer as well as being the driving force for Community Concerts.
Irvin had other passions, including playing bridge his entire adult life, faithfully doing the challenging Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle, and was an avid reader. He loved being in the sun, especially at the Indian Hills Country Club where he spent many Wednesday afternoon “half-holidays” (as he called them) and Sundays with his wife and children enjoying the swimming pool and working on his tan. One other interesting fact – always a lean man, Irvin had a big sweet tooth, and always enjoyed a dessert, no matter what the meal. Lucky for him he never gained weight because a piece of cake or pie was mandatory (but he never ate between meals!).
Irvin spent his entire adult life in his treasured jewelry store, where his second family of employees worked for many years. This close-knit group supplied many memories for Shamokin area residents, including multiple generations of wedding rings. Irvin was a staple in the store, working 6 days a week, including the infamous Shamokin Friday nights, and loved every minute of it. Irvin worked at the store until he was 80 years old, when he finally retired as the store closed Dec. 31, 2004, after 116 years in business.
Irvin continued to live in Shamokin, celebrating his 90th birthday with a large gathering. In 2018, Irvin moved to Lions Gate, an assisted living facility near his daughter Susan in Cherry Hill, NJ. Irvin enjoyed his time in the facility, and became beloved again by a new community. Irvin was still playing the piano (including happy birthday for residents) as well as dancing with the ladies, up until the very end. His Shamokin connection continued with his weekly letters from Linda Dormer and weekly calls from Nancy McBride. He was quite content there, and well taken care of by his daughter Susan. After his sudden illness of 3 weeks, he left this world at peace.
Mr. L, as he was often known, was a very respected man of every community he was a part of. A gentleman and gentle soul, he was really loved by anyone who knew him. Never a harsh word from his mouth, and always so well dressed and highly mannered, anyone who came in contact with Irvin in his many activities left with a very high opinion. If anyone was ever loved and cherished by all the people he knew, it was Irvin.
Irvin was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ruth, and his beloved wife Lillian.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 15th, 2021, at 11:00 am at Farrow-C.J. Lucas Funeral and Cremation Service, 240 W Chestnut St, Shamokin, PA, Lori Ann Campbell, Supervisor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Irvin’s memory to the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library or a charity of your choice. To send condolences to the family please visit www.farrowfh.com
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