Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blogging From A To Z: D is for...


He died almost a year ago.  He and I had come to a nice place before he died.  I really do miss him.

Shortly after he died, this article appeared about him in the local newspaper.

Downtown Personality Remembered With Warmth

By STEPHANIE M. PETERS STAFF WRITER - Published: April 27, 2010

On nice days during the spring, summer and early fall, Peter Mock was a fixture downtown, tending sidewalks and aiding business owners from behind a large sidewalk vacuum, always with a smile.

He quietly and proudly went about a job that for many would be an unpleasant chore. Mock considered it a duty.

"If people ask me why I do it, I tell them, 'For the sheer joy of knowing the downtown is clean,'" he told a reporter in July 2001. "I get asked that question a lot."

Mock died unexpectedly at his home in Clarendon on Saturday at age 60 – news that on Monday stunned the downtown business owners and employees whom he'd come to know.

"Its sudden and it's shocking," said Michael Coppinger of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, which employed Mock. "He will be sorely missed."

"We had been talking about the possibility of having the Partnership take over the maintenance of the train station and having him work year-round," said Bonnie Hawley, of Hawley's Florist and the Partnership. "It wasn't just a job to him. He cared about what it looked like downtown."

A native of Hanover, N.H., Mock owned and operated shoe-repair shops in Rutland and Middlebury prior to taking the job at the Partnership in 2000. In an interview in 2001, he said he took the sidewalk maintenance job as a way to ease the passing of his father and get into shape.

He also expounded on the ins and outs of the job, including the problems that could arise with the hefty, high-powered parking lot vacuum he usually pushed during his five-hour shift, and the one form of litter he wouldn't contend with – "bird doo."

"Peter just had an amazing initiative to do what needed to be done," said Mary Ann Goulette, former executive director of the Partnership. "He took on everything himself, never asked for help and never questioned anything."

Along the way, Mock also lent a friendly face to the downtown, Goulette said. He would greet or nod hello to most passers-by, as well as stop and talk to those who worked in the stores lining Center Street and Merchants Row.

"It takes years to get the kind of rapport with business owners that he had," said Tim Billings, who has managed Clem's Café for the past year and frequently stopped to talk to Mock.

Perhaps one of the merchants Mock came to know best was James McNeil of McNeil & Reedy. The two men first met about 20 years ago, when Mock owned a shop on State Street, McNeil said. In his most recent capacity, Mock would stop to talk to McNeil about everything from buying local, his preference for tea instead of coffee and the brooms he purchased annually at Aubuchon Hardware, to wintering in Florida, which he would do about a week after his seasonal job with the Partnership ended, McNeil said.

"He was just a funny guy," McNeil said. "And he did a good job."


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