|Lewis B. Mack Family
Lewis Bernard Mack, third son of John Watson and Margaret Kehoe Mack,
was born in Corning, September 12, 1897. While in school, he worked at
Johnson's Cafe and later at Biggar's Men's Clothing Store. He played in
"Mack's Jazz Band" until he married Anna Isabel (Belle) Curry
on October 19, 1920, at St. Patrick's, Corning. Belle was born on the
family farm near Carbon, in Lincoln Township, on January 23, 1895 to
Frank and Mary Waters Curry. She was their youngest daughter and her
parents had retired. Lewis, and his future brother-in-law, Leo Curry,
bought Latimer Hardware in 1919. Curry and Mack at 711 Davis,
distributed Maytag washing machines for Southwest Iowa. Gas-engine
Maytags were common; there were no REC lines in the County. Tindall
Brothers trucked Maytags from Newton by the semi-trailer load. Curry and
Mack also sold Frigidaire, Sylvania, G.E., and Hoover products, and in
"hard times" took in livestock, and other farm products as
payment. Winchester and Keen Kutter were also early name brands.
In 1956, Lewis and his son, Francis, who had joined the firm in 1946,
bought out Leo and moved to 702 Davis. Mack Hardware and Appliance
became a True Value store. Lewis died May 13, 1963, at Rosary Hospital
of a heart attack. In 1972, Frannie sold the store to Jack and Peg
Gadberry. The fifty-three year old firm's slogan "Not just a
hardware store, but a place to shop," died with the sale of the store.
Lewis was treasurer of the Columbia Home Company, Grand Knight of the
KC's, active member of St. Patrick's, treasurer of town team baseball
teams, on the Fair Board, Chamber of Commerce, and the City Council. The
battle for Corning's Municipal Light Plant was won, after much
controversy, while Lewis served on the Council. He regretted his
enlistment for World War I was rejected because of his eyesight. Lewis
and Belle had five children born at the family home at 507 Grove Ave.
Robert John, born September 30, 1921, is a Corning merchant in the
trucking business. Lewis Francis, born July 10, 1923 is a former
hardware merchant now working for National Farmers Organization. Mary
Margaret (Lenz), born November 19, 1924, was a Junior High Teacher,
presently a Corning school librarian. Joseph William, born February 4,
1927, and died February 5, 1927. Raphael Henry Paul (Ray), born July 21,
1930, former Corning merchant, is in business at Sunrise Beach,
Missouri. The children worked in the hardware store during their school
years, and Belle worked after the children were raised. The Mack
tradition of love of music continued and the children won honors in
contests while in high school. Bob and Frannie, like their Dad, played
in a dance band "The Owls." After Sunday Mass, family and
friends often gathered for breakfast, a family tradition. Belle died at
Rosary Hospital of a stroke, October 20, 1971 . Both are buried, with
their infant son, Joseph, at Calvary Cemetery, Corning. Mary Lenz
(History of Adams County Iowa, 1984, p. 373)
Lewis Mack was one of those fine men whose loyalty, integrity
and participation made for a better community.
He spent 44 years on Main street in Corning and was one of the town's
senior business men--in many ways. He took part in community activities,
served on the city council, was interested in the fair and
athletics--anything that was good for Corning and Adams county.
Lewis was devoted to this family and with his wife formed the hub
of a close-knit group of children and grandchildren. He recognized his
Creator and served Him quietly and devotedly.
In the hardware business he was without equal. He molded the
atmosphere of a pleasant and efficient shopping place and was dedicated
to serving his customers. With Lewis, there always was time for a visit,
regardless of how busy he might be.
And many, many couples will remember how he helped them get
started in housekeeping--enabling them to buy necessary appliances and
other items on terms convenient to them. This was a hallmark of Lewis's
interest in people and in the community.
And many folks, too, have enjoyed his musical talents. Many years
ago he formed an outstanding jazz band in this area and in recent years
many have enjoyed his piano and organ presentations.
He will be missed after a full, useful life--but his many fine
contributions will remain as goals for others to follow.
(Adams Co. Free Press, 5/23/63, by the editor)