Technically, this blog is about the University of Virginia — its faculty, staff and students. We don’t do much stuff about outside businesses, because as a public institution, we can’t play favorites.
To heck with that today.
The University community has lost a major figure. Bobby Mincer (at left in photo, with his son, Mark, the current proprietor), who ran the family business, Mincer’s Pipe Shop, for 40 years, lost his battle with leukemia at 1:30 a.m. today and died surrounded by his family, according to Corner historian Coy Barefoot. From 1960 to his retirement in 2000, he was a familiar figure to generations of Cavaliers (as well as an employer to more than a few).
Check out Barefoot’s tribute to Mincer, and make sure you listen to the podcast of his 2008 interview.
Mincer’s for years was known as a friendly place where students could cash checks or take out a quick “honor loan” with nothing more than a signature. The Mincers eventually got out of the tobacco business and morphed into a purveyor of U.Va.-imprinted sportswear and goods; Bobby credits Ralph Sampson with teaching them to sell T-shirts.
(Interesting Mincer’s trivia: When Bobby Mincer’s father was looking to establish a pipe shop in a college town, he also considered New Haven, Conn. and Lexington, Va. But Yale already had a nice pipe shop and the cadets at VMI had no place to carry a pipe on their uniforms, so he settled on Charlottesville.)
It’s a sad, sad day, and the University has lost another link to a bygone era.
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