For a dozen years now, since his sudden accidental death, friends of Jack Galvin have kept his memory alive with how they have helped others in the Independence community.
Harold Thomas “Jack” Galvin died Feb. 2, 2007, due to complications from injuries he suffered in a fall less than three weeks earlier on the icy sidewalk outside his Peddlers Bike Shop on Lexington Avenue. Galvin had owned the shop since 1972 after turning down a job transfer to Chicago as a salesman for Phillips Petroleum, and he became beloved in the community for the many neighborhood events he organized, including regular bike rides.
Dozens of grieving friends made unsolicited donations totaling thousands of dollars in Galvin's memory to the Eastern Optimist Club of South Independence, of which he had been a founding member. The club decided to turn those donations into a scholarship fund, which has been maintained and continues to be a charitable resource today.
Tuesday morning, Evening Optimists Rick Frazier and Chuck Rodgers presented the latest quartet of annual scholarships to students of Nativity of Mary Catholic School – one of several scholarships awarded to elementary students after morning Mass.
“We want people to know those donations are still being used,” said Carol Brumbaugh, whose husband Ron had been president of the Evening Optimist Club when Galvin died.
The Evening Optimists remember Galvin's generosity from how he repaired many broken bicycles to give to needy children, but also how he shunned publicity for his efforts. The scholarships are intended to help families with Catholic education, and they go to selected students who demonstrate strong academic work ethic, have extra-curricular involvement that includes community service and are a good model of school spirit.
The scholarships used to be awarded to students at St. Mary’s High School until that closed in 2013. They now go to Nativity students.
“It's always a tough decision; we argue about it,” Frazier said jokingly about reading the application essays.
Frazier himself has done much to carry on Galvin's legacy. As his protege in bicycle service for the community, Frazier took over Peddlers and continues to run it.
He remembers when he started working at Peddlers in 1975 as a 15-year-old, months before the shop moved from the corner of Maple Avenue and Noland Road (to make way for City Hall) to Lexington Avenue a block away.
“I went into the shop one day with a handful of pennies to buy a patch kit,” Frazier said. “He asked, 'Do you want to make some money?'”
After sweeping floors, scrubbing bikes and airing up tires, Frazier said, and a complimentary Galvin invited him to come back and work the next day and gave him the patch kit and a $5 bill.
So Frazier started working there, though he knew little about bikes besides riding them. Within a couple years Galvin sent him and Galvin's son Andy to Chicago for Schwinn's week-long mechanic school, to become a certified mechanic.
“Here it is 47 years later, still peddling,” Frazier said of what was Galvin's shop. “He was like a father figure to me. He showed me the right way to do things.”