Letter: “We are richer in Stevens Point for these people”
To the Editor:
Two notable individuals in Stevens Point died recently and their passing should be noted. A third individual passed away a few years back, and his passing is also worth noting and remembering.
The first, Chong Jaggar, passed away in July. Point folks might remember her as the original owner and operator of the Riverbend Restaurant in Stevens Point. Chong hired me to convert an older brick building on Third Street, which had been a doctor’s office, into her restaurant, which she operated from 1985-1993. This restaurant later became the Water Street Grill, which recently closed under the latest owners. Most recently, she operated the Market Street Grill in Nekoosa. Chong was an interesting and feisty woman and a great host. She will be missed.
The second, Connie Shuda, passed away just a few weeks ago. Connie might be known to some as the “lawnmower man,” or some similar moniker. He was quite the character on Fourth Avenue , just east of Michigan, where his home and shop were. Still working in his late 80’s, Connie would take on any challenge, fix or refurbish almost anything that had a small motor. Almost everything he needed was within his reach at his workbench in the back of his garage. I’m glad I was able to trade jibes with him just a few days before he passed away. I’ll miss his ever-smiling face.
The third, Eric Belke, passed away a few short years ago. he was a kind and gentle man, running Belke Lumber on Second Street for many, many years, after his father passed away. His business is now closed and it appears the City or some developer may re-purpose the site. It is one of Stevens Point’s older and more historically-significant buildings, with quite a patchy history. Eric proudly showed customers and visitors the big wooden wheels and long leather belts that powered the different woodworking and molding machines in the rear workshop. A series of video tours of the building have been posted on Facebook recently by KPR Brokers and are worth a look. Eric lived around the corner from his business and could be seen walking to work every morning. He too will be missed.
We are the richer in Stevens Point for these people and others who pass on, often without note other than an obituary.
I hope others take the time to remember folks who they feel added to the fabric of our life here in Stevens Point.