Born: November 6, 1921
Died: November 11, 2000
Married: Elizabeth "Jim" Gunning
Children: Michael Bevilacqua; James Bevilacqua; Robert Bevilacqua; Mary Raymond; Cherrie Sayles; and Janie Rabideau.
Carl J. Bevilacqua was a pharmacist who operated the Post Office Pharmacy from 1949 until 1986. He interrupted his studies at the Albany College of Pharmacy to fight in World War II; on his return, he completed his pharmacy degree in 1948, and worked as a pharmacist, first in Albany, and then in Saranac Lake. He bought the Post Office Pharmacy in 1949.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 13, 2000.
Carl J. Bevilacqua
SARANAC LAKE — Carl J. Bevilacqua, 79, of Lower Saranac Lake, died Saturday, Nov. 11, 2000 at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh.
Born on Nov. 6, 1921 in Ticonderoga, he was a son of Charles and Natalina (Costa) Bevilacqua.
Bevilacqua graduated from Albany College of Pharmacy in June of 1948. In 1949, he purchased the Post Office Pharmacy in Saranac Lake from A.B. Husted, which he owned until he sold the business to his son James in 1986. He continued to work at the pharmacy with his son following the sale. He was a member of the Elks Lodge 1508, Saranac Lake, the third- and fourth degree Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. Bevilacqua was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps in Radar Counter Measure, B- 17s with the 16th Recon Squadron in Africa and the 15th Air Force in Africa.
Bevilacqua married the former Elizabeth "Jim" Gunning on Sept. 12, 1948 at St. Mary's Church in Ticonderoga.
Survivors include his wife; three sons, Michael, James and Robert, three daughters Mary Raymond, Cherrie Sayles and Janie LaBrake, all of Saranac Lake: 14 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a brother, Francis Bevilacqua, of Stuart, Fla. and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a sister, Anita Dedrick and a brother John Bevilacqua.
Calling hours will he held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Horne in Saranac Lake. A Bible vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will he held at 11:15 a.m. at St. Bernard's Church with the Rev. Joseph Wheelock officiating. Interment will follow in St. Bernard's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Adirondack Medical Center Renal Dialysis Unit in care of the funeral home.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 17, 2000
Prescription for fun
The phone call on Saturday night was one of those you never want to get but that you'll get nonetheless: It was Ann-Marie Peer, telling me Carl Bevilacqua had died that after-noon.
And God love her, that's pretty much how she said it — up front and straight out. "I didn't want you to hear it first on the radio," she said.
And believe me, neither did I. We hung up and I went through the expected series of mood swings. Finally, after my emotional roller coaster leveled off, I was left sad that Mr. B. was gone, but grateful we'd ever formed a friendship. It: was a friendship that had a peculiar beginning — prompted by a newspaper article, in fact. One day, on a whim, I decided I wanted to write a feature on the Post Office Pharmacy. I asked Mr. B. if he was up for it; he said he was, and so I blundered on.
When I say blundered, I'm not exaggerating. Having never written an article (as opposed to a column), I had no idea how to start, much less how to proceed. I didn't know how to interview, how to take notes, how to do anything.
But in the end that became a reward: Being so inefficient, I had to interview Mr. B. repeatedly, getting facts straight, trying to decipher my notes, following up on key points and the rest. It took me about 10 interviews, as I recall, and while this gave me nothing to brag about as a reporter, it gave me something more — the chance to get to know Mr. Bevilacqua, at least a little bit.
This turned out as much a surprise as a delight. While I'd known Mr. B. all my life, we'd never spoken, other than to exchange greetings in the store. In fact, after all those years, I'd concluded that aside from saying hello, Mr. B. didn't speak at all.
The Gift of Gab ... and more
I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only could Mr. B. talk, but he loved to talk. And when he talked, he was animated, funny, upbeat, sharp as a tack, and full of beans.
I couldn't believe he was the same man I'd been seeing in the store for the past half century. As a result, I had to cut our first interview short so I could go home and readjust to this "new" Mr. Bevilacqua. Not only did I adjust to Mr. B., but I found myself liking him alot too.
Once the interviews were over and the, article had been printed, there was no official reason for our visits. But not, wanting to lose touch, I figured it was time for an unofficial one. So one day I asked Mr. B. if he'd like to meet me in the Boat House after work, and he agreed.
We got together for the first time that day in the summer of '99, and several more times in the year he had left. And it was during those too-few get-togethers that I got to kuow Mr. B. a little, and got to enjoy him a whole lot more.
What'd we talk about? Everything, and nothing. That is, we always found things to chat about, but I can't say any of them were important. In fact, most of them were probably downright trivial.
But that didn't matter. What did matter was just being there, because Mr. Bevilacqua was one of the most fun people I've ever known.
What made him such a delight? In a phrase, "Joie de vivre" — a French idiom that means, literally, "joy of life." A more precise definition, however, is "delight at being alive" — something Mr. B. overflowed with.
Mr. B. was a lot of things — he was a gentleman, an astute. businessman, a diligent worker, a devoted family man, he was kind and generous to a fault.
But beyond that, he was a man in love with life, and a joy to be with.
One thing I always knew about Mr.' B.' (because everyone in My Home Town knew it): When he was on the town, he .always picked up everyone's. tab. It was a point of honor with the man, and he was adamant about it.
Knowing that, and being the devil l am, the first time we went out, I snatched the check before he realized it.
"Here, here," he said, reaching for the check, "let me have it."
"Sorry," I said, "You can pick up the next one."
I saw it as a. game of sorts, plus that it'd. lead to our having another night on the town. Which it did. And that's. how we worked it — taking turns paying the tab (even though he wanted to pay for all of them).
The last time we went out, about a month ago, a friend of mine joined us toward the end of our visit. While he and Mr. B. were talking, I excused myself, went to the bar, and asked for the check.
The waitress said, "Oh, no, the gentleman told me not to let you pay it."
"Too bad," I said, handing her a bill.
"But, but...." she said.
"Look, just take it," I said.
She shrugged and took my money, figuring it'd be easier to placate a gentleman like Mr. B. than a nut like me.
Of course, when I got back to the booth, Mr. B. was outraged at my treachery. "I told her not to give you the check," he said. "Hey, how's that poor kid gonna resist my charms?" I said. "Besides, you can pick it up next` time."
Still somewhat miffed, but having no alternative, he reluctantly agreed. Sadly, there wasn't a next time.
When it comes to things religious, I know almost nothing. But I do know this much: If there's a heaven, Mr. B. 's already there.
And if there's a heaven, I hope it has lots of first-class restaurants and cocktail lounges. Because if it does, and if somehow I manage to slip through the 'pearly gates, I'd love to meet Mr. B. at one for a drink and a chat.
And this time I'd let him pick up the tab.
After all, it'd only be fair.
First, it'd be his turn. And second, I'd be an angel, so I'd have to let him do it to make sure he'd be happy.