WILNO – Growing up in the hills of Killaloe proved to make a difference when it came to Andy Lorbetskie, a man who will be remembered for his gentle nature and his dedication to his business.
It was on Christmas Eve that Andy’s family would receive the news of his passing, and neither of his children hesitated in rushing home to be with their mother.
Andy was born on June 5, 1950 to Stephen and Mary Lorbetski.
He grew up in the farmlands of Killaloe, with five siblings, all of which were brothers.
In 1976, Leonard, one of the five, passed away.
It was during his years in high school that Andy met his sweetheart, Mary, who recalls that it was her cousin that introduced them.
“My cousin, I guess, introduced me to him… I think I was 16, 17,” Mary said.
Some years later they decided to make it official, and on August 24, 1974, when Mary was 21, they were married.
Andy did not attend college or university, but instead began working straight out of high school, labouring for the lumber mills.
“Right from school he went into working in the bush…he was cutting and skidding,” she said. “He worked locally for a number of logging firms, and then 14 and half years ago, because he was having trouble with his leg and his back, we decided to buy this business.”
The business consisted of an Esso gas station, located on the outskirts of Wilno. It was through that business that the family would see many familiar and unfamiliar faces pass through – local or not, Andy treated them all the same.
“He wanted the best for his family, and also his customers,” Mary said. “He was fantastic with his customers.”
They have two children, Chris and Sheri, whom both said their father had a kind heart and was always there when someone was in need.
While Chris was growing up his father would spend time teaching him the ropes of owning and managing your own business, and those lessons have now come in handy, considering Chris is running the gas station for the time being.
“Chris knows the business inside out, really just like his dad, because his dad taught him. He was close to his dad like that,” she said.
According to Mary, Andy was a perfectionist.
“When he saw something that had to be done, it had to be done that day, yesterday almost,” she said. “He was loyal to his customers…”
According to the family, Andy was dedicated to caring for those who came through the gas station, and it wasn’t until he passed away that they saw just how cared for he truly was.
Story continues in the January 9, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.