Friday, June 29, 2018

Discovering a local connection to my Uncle Vic Koleber

Myron SmithThe first thing I did for my job this week was to pick up a printing order from our local printer, Master Printers, in Canon City, CO. I was greeted by the long-time owner, Myron “Smitty” Smith. At age 83, Smitty has a lifetime of experience at his craft and has donated much of his time to service in our community. He’s served on numerous boards, greeted new business owners as the head of the Economic Development Council, served as a County Commissioner, etc. I’ve been acquainted with Smitty since I moved to Canon City in 1987 and worked as the Office Manager of the Chamber of Commerce. So when I had a printing job that I was not able to handle in my office, I took it to Smitty. Within the first 5 minutes after I was greeted by Smitty, he happened to mention that as a high school student, he worked in Florence, Colorado for the local newspaper, the Florence Citizen. With his razor sharp memory, he commented that he started working there as a “Print Slave” in February, 1952, explaining that the term was used to describe the Janitor. I was totally stunned, as I told him it was my great-uncle Victor Koleber who OWNED and PUBLISHED the Florence Citizen in 1952. Uncle Vic was the younger brother of my Dad’s mother, Mollie (Koleber) Margheim. Smitty related a really clever story of his initial job interview with Uncle Vic, along with a quick story that included Vic’s daughter Vicky, as she sunbathed on the lawn that Smitty was hired to take care of.
Vic Koleber, Vicki and BiIly Turner, July 1987
Pictured above is my great-uncle Victor Koleber at left, with his daughter Vicky and her husband Billy Turner, taken about 25 years ago. The photo below shows (from left to right): my grandparents John (1900-1978) and Mollie (Koleber) (1902-1986) Margheim and son Leonard (1929-2018), Vicky Koleber (1935-2012) in front, and parents Ethel (Massey) (1907-2002) and Victor Koleber (1911-2002). They’re standing in the backyard of my grandparents’ home at 114 E. 6th St, Hoisington, Kansas, about 1943. 
John , Mollie and Leonard Margheim; Victor, Ethel and Vicki Koleber. Vic Koleber and Mollie Margheim are brother and sister.
I know many people would not even consider this a story worthy of relating in a blog. But I find these connection discoveries noteworthy. As I’ve said before, I’m easily amazed. I’ve know Smitty for more than 30 years and had no idea that he knew my great-uncle, much less learned his printing trade at the hands of Uncle Vic. I cringe when I hear people say this phrase, but it really is a small world! I took advantage of the opportunity to ask Smitty about Uncle Vic’s personality, since I have no memories of ever visiting with him. A genealogist won’t pass up an opportunity like that! Thank you, Myron “Smitty” Smith for making my day!

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