Frank "Chick" Chekevdia

 


 Becker-Heckman
Watch Case Repair Company

Frank Chekevdia or "Chick", as most people knew him, was born in Royalton on July 27, 1923
in a section of town known as "Hunky Row". He grew up in Royalton and graduated from
the high school in 1941.

Like most young men during WWII, Chick entered the service and joined the Navy and stayed in
until 1947 when he discharged and moved to Chicago to look for work.

Chick began an apprenticeship that same year with the Becker-Heckman Watch Case Repair Company. Eventually, he became partner in the company only to sell out his part prior to moving back to Royalton.

Chick worked on and off for the company for 20 years while in Chicago. He got tired of the hectic city life that he called a "Rat Race". His son was getting older and he did not want him to
grow up in the city. In 1967, Chick moved his family back home to Royalton. He would
not move back until 1969.

When Chick moved back, he made a deal with the owners of the company. Either he would
quit or they could mail him the work that needed to be done. They opted for the latter. Consequently, Chick bought a building from O.F. Griffith on North Royal Street and
his shop opened.
Chick basically retired when he moved home. Gone were the suits and ties that he wore in
the city. Most people around here never saw him in anything other than a tee shirt and
dungarees, unless there was a reason to dress up.
 

 When people in the area heard there was a goldsmith in town, numerous, interesting people came to visit. I personally remember a General, a Senator, and a member of the Washington Redskins coming to get watches repaired.

Chick never turned anybody away. He liked to meet people and have long B.S. sessions
that often led to interesting arguments. Many of the people who came to get a ring fixed or a watch repaired became the same ones who would visit the shop on a regular basis. His usual fee
was a package of chewing tobacco for the work he did. I do not think that I saw anyone
go away dissatisfied.

 Chick loved to visit people. He would wake in the morning and spend the first half of the day going to the post office, Brick's Barber Shop, and other places in town to get the latest news. There was no telling where you would see him. I cannot think of a place he was not welcome.

On June16, 1990, Chick departed Royalton and this life for his final journey. He left behind a multitude of friends and neighbors. His wife Elva and son Mike still live in Royalton. He is sadly missed.

Michael Chekevdia
30 January 2003