There are some people that we meet in this life who strike us instantly as being a special breed of human being. John Reavey was one of those human beings. I first met John back in 1984 when I was bartending at a local tavern in Cohoes. I remember he would argue with his brother because he felt he was not tipping me enough. From that moment on I knew this guy John Reavey was one of a kind. A friendship quickly developed and next thing you know it’s been 30 years. Then one day I turn around and he’s gone.
Many people have gotten to know and become friends with John through his diner, aptly titled “Uncle John’s” on Ontario Street in Cohoes. The place is a classic American small town diner, no bigger than a studio apartment. But this is where John held court for the last 20 years. Whatever wall space there is is adorned with photos of Cohoes history. John loved Cohoes but i’ll get to that later.
The diner was not only a great place to eat as John was a great cook, and I certainly have the extra pounds to prove it, but it was a refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern life. And while the conversations at the counter could include all sorts of topics, it was that of local politics that would most often be heard. I can’t even count how many conversations about politics I had with John over the years.
But there was a lot more to John than the diner. First and foremost for John came his family. He was a devoted husband and father. For John, family always came first. As far as a friend, he was the best friend anyone could have. He was always there for me over the years, always there to lend a hand or an ear. John’s political wisdom and keen sense of humor not only made me a better politician, but a better man.
John was essentially a renaissance man. He was a craftsman, a carpenter and could fix just about anything. He loved antiques and history. Then there was the love for his community. John would absolutely relish the opportunity to regale folks from out of town with the history of Cohoes. He would just love talking about the rich history and telling people what they should go and see while they were in town. And one thing is certain, John gave far more to the community than he ever took. He was constantly thinking of ways to improve the community and over the years he devoted countless hours to that cause.
You really only needed to know John for a few moments to understand he would make a life long impression on you. It’s safe to say the 30 years I knew John has left an impression on me that cannot be measured. My most heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jackie, their children Levi, Megan and Ryan and all those who mourn the loss of John.
It’s been said that you live your life so even the undertaker cries. John lived his life so that an entire community is crying. He was a proud son of Cohoes and Cohoes is a better place because of him.
John, you have touched the lives of so many. I am truly a better man for having known you. We love you and we will miss you. May you have the eternal rest that you so well deserve.
Goodbye my friend.